> Group 8 Created with Sketch.

Jack’s experience with our Visually Impaired Tennis sessions


Jack, aged 25, who has been visually impaired from birth, travels to the Nottingham Tennis Centre once a week to play Visually Impaired Tennis and train for Regional and National tournaments around the Country.

“Give it a go, you might be better than you think.”

The Friday evening session that he attends from 6-7pm is open to all ages and abilities, with the youngest player being just ten years old.

You don’t have to be a member to play and you don’t need any expensive equipment either, as the centre provides rackets and an “audible” foam ball, which is attached to a bell to help you find its location.

In many ways, the game is the same as the national game played by the likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, it’s just played on a Junior Orange court with a lower net.

Jack and his fellow players are allowed one to three bounces of the ball, depending on their visual impairment, of which there are five categories: B1 (blind) through to B5 (almost fully sighted). Jack falls under B3, and so gets two bounces of the ball.


“It’s great fun and I’d love more people to play as it would give more variety at the tournaments I play in.”

Jack was just four years old when he started playing tennis after his Dad searched for a sport that they could play together. He’s really keen to create a legacy and encourage others to try it out too, at least once.

He’s so keen he even offers to mentor anyone who’s nervous about doing something new – offering to meet them at the Tennis Centre to welcome them and put them at ease.

For the last five years, Jack has regularly travelled to play both singles and doubles matches competitively in tournaments at Loughborough, Birmingham, Newcastle and London. His proudest achievement so far has been his recent reaching of the quarter finals, but he claims it’s not about winning – it’s about taking part and being active.

“There’s always someone better than the person at the top,  they just may not have started playing yet.”

Besides playing tennis and studying for his PHD at Derby University, Jack also loves walking and enjoys playing chess – something he modestly admits to being fairly good at, as he was once within the world’s top 7000 players.


Visually Impaired Tennis is just one of our specialist sessions.  Visit our Disability Activities page for other activities you can take part in.

If you live in Nottingham City and have a registered disability you can save up to 50% discount off activities, so join Active Nottingham today!

Meet Asmita: “Go for it and don’t give up”

Asmita, 55, who was born in Tanzania, contracted polio at the age of 2yrs, resulting in curvature of the spine and reduced ability to walk unaided.

When her family moved to England in 1975 she attended Aspley Wood School which focused on supporting children with special needs and it’s there that Asmita learnt to swim as part of her 1:1 physiotherapy sessions.

“I wondered how I was going to be able to swim if I couldn’t use my legs”

With her physiotherapists help she built up her upper body strength and was soon regularly swimming at Beechdale Baths and taking part in sponsor swims to raise funds for the school.

She stopped swimming when she began college, studying English, and later started as a trainee machinist at Marathon Knitwear, as part of a Youth Training Scheme working there for 17 years

It was her son, Christopher, who is also a lifeguard at Clifton, who encouraged her to start swimming again and having rekindled her passion for it. Asmita now swims five mornings a week utilising her Flexible Fitness Swim and Health Suite membership to the maximum with regular sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi sessions too.

Christopher regularly joins her in the pool before work and along with other staff, is there to help with getting in and out the water.

“I’ve lost over a stone in weight and feel better for it, my mood is brighter, I have less stress on my shoulders and I’m loving life!”

Volunteering has always played a large part in Asmita’s life, helping out at Aspley Wood School for over 16 years and she’s now heavily involved with the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service.

Having successfully completed a Level 1 Swimming Teacher Certificate as part of the InstructAbility project, you will probably see her pool side at Clifton, volunteering on Mondays and she’s hoping that she may be able to take her new skills further and look for paid teaching work in the future.

“Age is no barrier to learning and I love helping people and giving something back.”

Things haven’t always been easy for Asmita and she’s overcome many obstacles in life, but she says these have only served to make her stronger and more determined to grab every opportunity to enjoy life.

“Go for it, give yourself a chance to try something new and don’t give up!”

If you live in Nottingham City and have a registered disability you can save up to 50% discount off activities, so why not join Active Nottingham today?

My disability doesn’t stop me

say Jack who plays Visually Impaired Tennis at Nottingham Tennis Centre.

“Being able to play the sport I love, is so important to me”

I’ve played Visually Impaired Tennis nearly all my life after my Dad searched for a sport we could play together when I was 4 years old and I now regularly compete on the tournament circuit, something that I love, as I get to meet up with the other players, many of who are also now my friends.

My last regional competition was on the 15th April at Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre, Birmingham, where I competed in the B3 Category, up against other players from across the Country. For the tournaments nearer home, I tend to travel alone to, but if I’m in London or Newcastle then Dad comes too and we’ll stay overnight.

VI Tennis is played on a smaller court than usual, with a lower net and uses an audible ball so we can hear it bounce. Depending on our level of sight, we’re allowed up to three bounces before returning the ball across the net

People often ask me how I can hit the ball, but as a Category B3 I do have partial sight, so with the added noise from the bell, it’s not impossible and I also get two bounces before I have to return the ball too, which obviously helps.

The Friday night session (6pm – 7pm) at Nottingham Tennis Centre is the only visually impaired one in Nottinghamshire, as far as I know,  and the facilities are great.  Without it, I’d have to travel much further to train and that probably wouldn’t work for me, as I need to fit it in with studying at Derby University.

Other than playing tennis, I love walking and try and keep as fit and active as I can,  as having a strong core can help with balance. It’s not just about that though, it’s also about how good exercising makes me feel and competing in the sport I love playing really makes me happy.

The Tennis Foundation are working really hard to promote VI Tennis and for the first time this year they’re planning to host three Junior VI Tennis Festivals in 2018. The nearest one is at Loughborough University Tennis Centre. They’re open to children and young people of any ability who are blind or partially sighted and only cost £10.00 per person.  There’s also the added benefit that if you’ve not attended before you’ll even get a free racket, so why not join me and starting playing VI Tennis.

Recently a fellow student and friend, Vincent Chan, created this video about VI Tennis and I hope it will inspire other people to come along to the Friday night sessions at Nottingham Tennis Centre.

Visit our website for more information about disability discounts and memberships.

Completing my first half marathon

I woke up with a mass of butterflies in my stomach, this was it, today was the day!

When my alarm sounded at 06:30 on the morning of the Ikano Bank Robin Hood Half Marathon I knew I’d done as much training as I could!

I’d run 100 miles in training runs on the treadmill, in the gym at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre and also out on the road.  I’d eaten well, kept myself hydrated and applied liberal amounts of Vaseline to places I won’t mention, so it was now game face time.

Pinning my race number to my shirt really bought it home, I was ACTUALLY going to run in a half marathon!

Lining up at the start in my section, I could see a river of people; all ages and different body shapes and sizes, some looking nervous, some focused and some just looking plain daft, including a Banana, Scooby Doo and a Viking longboat!

And then we were off, tightly packed at first, but I was soon into my stride.The running went to plan for 10 miles and I was pacing exactly as I wanted and had trained for.   Miles 11-12 were hard going though and my time slowed by a couple of minutes, however the last mile and a bit felt like I was running on Air, as the support was amazing! I even managed a sprint finish and completed the race in 2 hours 39 minutes 50 seconds, coming in just behind Scooby Doo.

Running the Half marathon was a challenge and one I will definitely do again!  With the amazing support from the people of Nottingham, who lined the streets to cheer on the runners it’s a great way to improve my fitness and get the most out of my gym membership too.

I raised over £400 pounds for the Stroke Association and now it’s time to recover with some gentle swimming and a few health suite sessions and plan my next Half or even FULL Marathon!

By Marcus Shelley, Assistant Manager at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre

If you’re thinking of running the Ikano Half Marathon in 2019 (and there’s currently an early bird booking offer!), our Flexible Fitnessmembership will really help with your training.  It’s gives you access to 8 gyms, 7 swimming pools, over 400 fitness classes and health suites and through our 1-2-1 sessions with a fitness advisor, we can help with your training plan too.
Call 0115 876100 for more information or to sign up today!

Pretty Muddy 2018


Saturday 8 September saw hundreds of pink clad tutu’d ladies, and a few unicorns! gather at Holme Pierrepont for this year’s Pretty Muddy Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Active Nottingham had a corporate time slot or “wave” all to ourselves which meant that 200 staff and customers many of who are Flexible Fitness members from our 8 leisure centres all ran together and tackled the obstacles as a team to help raise money for such a great cause.

We were amazed at how many of our customers took part, and we want to say a big THANK YOU!

Charm leading the warm up

After an awesome warm up led by non other that Charm of Zumba with Charm, which got everyone in the spirit, they were ready for the off!

There was a real buzz as everyone crossed the start line and headed off to the first obstacle.

Event staff around the course were brilliant, as they supported and encouraged everyone to get as muddy as possible and have fun!

The race (not that it really is one) culminates in a rope climb and slide into a mud pit, which really made sure that everyone was covered by the time they crossed the finish line to be congratulated by friends and family that had gathered to cheer them on.

Everyone had a wonderful time and even though it was a little chilly,  everyone was proud to show off their medals at the end and many visited our stall for their free Fitness and Tennis passes.

We all know someone who’s touched by cancer and doing something like Pretty Muddy Race for Life is a great way of showing our support.

Will we be doing it again next year……you bet!

Our staff and customers

Here’s Lorna, the event organiser from Cancer Research UK, with a special message for every one of our Active Nottingham Muddy Maidens!

Meet Rayah

Rayah’s five years old and a born swimmer

Rayah started swimming before her first birthday, often going to the baby pool at Ken Martin Leisure Centre with her family on a Sunday – so she’s been in and out of the water from a young age.

Her dad Ramnik is a Flexible Fitness member, and Rayah is following in his footsteps, having already completed an obstacle fun run with her dad as well as taking part in Race for Life with her mum too.  Rayah enjoys being very active.

After starting with Nottingham Swim School this year, Rayah has just completed her first Duckling badge – getting used to the water and gaining some initial experience of being in a class environment without her parents.

Swim School is a great start for young children to get involved with fitness, and it helps build their confidence and self-esteem ready for other challenges later in life.

At this level, emphasis is on the development of basic swimming skills and water confidence through fun and games. The Swim England Duckling awards 1–4 are used within these classes. Rayah has built the confidence to be able to jump in the pool, hold her breath, paddle and kick and show the correct form using floats.

Ramnik didn’t want Rayah to be afraid of water like some of the less capable swimmers in his class when he was at school – he wanted her to feel comfortable with water from an early age. He’s keen for Rayah to have fitness and nutrition as part of her life and routine, rather than for it to become a challenge in the future.

Rayah loves blowing bubbles under water and playing with floats and splashing around – it’s really built her confidence and makes her feel happy.

What makes Swim School so great for Rayah is that she had the same teacher for Notts Gym Tots as she now does for swimming, meaning that there’s already a respectful relationship.

All the staff are friendly and helpful, and dad, Ramnik, finds the email portal updates really good and useful as it allows him to check timings and her progress at any time of the day.

It’s great to see her develop her skills in the pool each week!

Swimming at Ken Martin Leisure Centre is convenient and local. Rayah’s made friends and knows people in her swimming class from school – her parents have also got to know the other parents there, making the poolside a lot more sociable!

Rayah has just completed her first 10-week block and is eager to get back in the water for her next block of lessons after the school holidays. She can’t wait to start.

If you’d like your little one to learn to swim, visit Nottingham Swim School or call us on 0115 876 1600 to book a lesson at your nearest leisure centre.

When a non-runner takes on the Ikano Bank Robin Hood Half Marathon

Marcus, Assistant Manager at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, spills the beans on his half marathon journey so far!
Running is something I’ve never really been that into; I’ve been a competitive canoe and kayak slalom paddler, ridden my bike down some very scary mountains, chased after my children, ran beside them as they’ve learnt to ride their own bikes, played football with the lads, but actual pavement pounding running? Well that’s what other people do, right?

This year I was watching the London Marathon and thought “hmmm, I turn 40 this year and I’ve never tried running as a sport”, and then as quickly as the thought entered my head, it slipped away, or had it?

My auntie had beaten cancer before, but it’s come back and spread to her lungs. A few days after her diagnosis she had two strokes, a day or so apart, both small but any stroke is serious.

I was at work when I saw on our internal website that there were free Ikano Robin Hood Half Marathon places up for grabs if you ran on behalf of the Stroke Association. Before I had the chance to dismiss the crazy idea, I’d signed up and secured my place in this year’s event!


Winning, but am I loving it?

I really hate running……..

When I got home my wife said, “you know that gives you 11 weeks”, followed by “If anyone can do it, you can”. I don’t think I slept that night, I’m not sure if it was excitement or fear!

I started my training plan by buying “proper” running shoes to help prevent injury, downloaded the Nike+ Run Club app as advised by a colleague, and hit the gym at work before my shift. Djanogly’s gym is great for marathon training, as you need upper body and core strength along with the ability to distance run, and there’s the health suite where you can relax too and having a Flexible Fitness membership  means I can train as often as I want, for a set monthly price.

My first 10 minutes on the running machine felt like 100, but at least my feet looked good! After just two days of gym work I ran a 15min benchmark session outside. It was pure torture.

By week two, I was still running for minutes not miles. I can’t say I was loving it, but I was doing it and by week three I was able to run for longer. Things were getting serious, I had even brought a phone holder for my arm!

I am now 5 weeks into my training plan and covered 23 of the 82 miles I need to complete by “Race Day”, that’s 13 training runs out of my scheduled 41, leading to the BIG ONE.

I’ve still not had “that” moment where running becomes an amazing soul enhancing thing that runners rave about, but I do feel fitter.

There’s just 6 weeks until “Race Day” so whether the running gods strike me with that lightning bolt of running love or not, ultimately I’m doing this for a great cause, I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying something new.

If you’d like to help me through this, as I try and become a runner you can spons

or me at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Marcus-Shelley2

OR Text MSHE88 £1 to 70070 to sponsor just £1.00

Thanks for reading.

Check out Active Nottingham’s website for more information about their Flexible Fitness membership, which isn’t just for marathon runners!

At least my feet look good!

Erica – 6 months later

“It’s all change on the job front”

Erica, is another of our faces from our January Flexible Fitness Membership Campaign.  Her story was really popular, resonating with many of you and inspiring you to take up a Fitness membership package and start your journey to a healthier, happier you. 

Having lost over 8 stone, Erica had also stopped smoking and drinking and managed to come off oxygen, which had been helping her to breathe for a long time.  With all these changes, Erica became so much fitter and healthier and had returned to work as a cleaner at Queens Medical Centre, which meant she was on her feet much of the day.

It’s been 6 months now and we thought we’d catch up with Erica again to see what’s happening in her life and how she’s feeling.

“After a diet free holiday I’m back on my fitness and healthy eating regime.”

“Losing weight and getting fitter motivated me to change my career and aim to do something I’ve always wanted and last month I achieved it, starting my new job as an auxiliary nurse at the Queens Medical Centre.  I’ll miss the Rapid Response team but I’m looking forward to a new challenge and I’m sure I’ll still see my old colleagues regularly.

I’ve recently completed four intense weeks of training for my new role, which were really full on and meant that I wasn’t able to get to classes and swimming at Clifton Leisure Centre as often as I did before, but I still managed to take some time to exercise as I know how much it helps me relax during busy or stressful times in my life.

My hubby and I have just got back from a wonderful holiday in Greece which I have to admit has been “diet free” so I have gained a few pounds, but I know I need to re-focus and get back on both my healthy eating and exercise regime and have already booked 10 different classes already, starting Friday.

“When I think back to how I was, getting out the chair was a struggle.”

I’m aiming for those few extra pounds to be gone before I take part in this year’s Pretty Muddy Race for Life, in September as an Active Nottingham Muddy Maiden with 199 other leisure Centre customers and staff.  There’s still places if you’d like to join me?

You can even save 30% off the entry fee, simply by quoting NOTTSC30 when you sign up at goo.gl/e4CxPj but be quick as there’s not many places left.”

If, like Erica, you want to make a change, whether it’s losing weight or just leading a healthier lifestyle, why not sign up to Flexible Fitness today?

Ramnik – 6 months later

As one of the faces of our January Flexible Fitness Campaign, Ramnik appeared on banners across the City and on all our social media channels.

It’s been a fantastic experience, feeling that I’m inspiring others to exercise.


His story reached out to many, inspiring you to be more active and make some really positive health and lifestyle choices.

It’s been 6 months now and we recently caught up with Ramnik again: here’s what he said………

“Wow, what a six months it’s been!

I’ve very nearly completed my Level 2 qualification in Gym Instructing along with gaining my CPD’s (Continuous Professional Development) in TRX Suspension Training and Kettlebells Training, to be shortly followed by Circuits, Group Training, Strength and Conditioning, and Boxing & Pad work!”

“If I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it wholeheartedly.”

I’ve been busy launching my new website and I’ve also started delivering sessions in One2One Personal Training!  I shot my first professional fitness video this month for release on social media later this year too, it’s all very exciting!

“My Flexible Fitness Membership is still proving to be great value for money as exercise is a great way to relax after a busy day at work.

I increased my training regime earlier this year, to compete in ‘Tough Mudder’ at Belvoir Castle in May where I challenged myself to run 10 Miles and completed all 27 obstacles. It was hard, but great fun and really rewarding; it’s amazing what you can achieve when you challenge your mind and body.

Obviously as a member, increasing my visits to the gym doesn’t cost me any more money, no matter how many times I train a week.”


“My little girl is following in my footsteps by joining Nottingham Swim School.  She’s just completed her first 10 weeks and is loving it!

She did a 5k Race for Life last week for Cancer Research, which is pretty impressive for a 5 year old.

Lastly, but probably most excitingly, I’m going to start my Level 3 Personal Traini

ng Diploma at the end of this month and I’m expecting to start work this summer once I’m qualified. You never know I could be delivering a class in a local leisure centre soon!”

“It really has changed my world for the better…”

If Ramnik’s story has inspired you, sign up to Flexible Fitness TODAY and pay no joining fee*! Get down to your nearest leisure centre or call us on 0115 876 1600 and take your first steps towards a healthier, fitter, happier you!

*Offer ends 30th June 2018

Meet Isabelle

Isabelle’s a 6 year old swimmer with Nottingham Swim School

“She’s like a little mermaid, she’d sooner be underneath the water than on top.” Mummy’s little mermaid

When Mum Leanne, a keen swimmer when she was younger, took Isabelle to her first Water Babies Class at Beechdale Swimming Pool, aged just 8 weeks old, she hoped her little baby would like it.  But Isabelle did more than….. she loved it from the start!

Isabelle learned really early on to hold her breathe under water and kick back to the side, which are some of the key safety skills taught at the class and by gaining water confidence at such an early age Isabelle was able to swim 5 metres by the age of just 2 years old!

She started Nottingham Swim School lessons in August 2015 and has since gone from strength to strength, building stamina and learning the right techniques.  She achieved her 400 metre badge at just 5 and since then has progressed to being able to swim 2200 metres.

She can confidently swim butterfly, but Mum says the breaststroke took a little longer to get the timings right, due to the co-ordination needed.

Her favourite part of her lessons are swimming back stroke, diving, practicing race starts and mastering the tumble turn, which has proved invaluable for her Individual Medley Time Trails at Northern Swimming Club, which she joined in January 2017.

Along with attending her regular Swim School lesson at Clifton Leisure Centre she also enjoys the Swim School Quackers sessions where she’s learning invaluable lifesaving skills including how to swim fully clothed.

Being a member of Northern SC, means she now trains 3 times a week at Harvey Hadden Sports Village which she loves as she enjoys being with the other swimmers, some of who are family too.

“As parents, it’s important that both our girls are safe around water, especially when we go on holiday, so we can relax a little.

Proud of her achievements

Practicing diving on holiday

She recently took time trails in 100m free style, 50m fly, 100m breaststroke and 100m individual medley and swims with swimmers at the club meets who are much older than her.

She thoroughly enjoyed the recent fun gala at Harvey Hadden in March, as she can’t compete in galas at club level until she’s 8, something she can’t wait for.

Outside of swimming Isabelle loves singing, dancing and being on stage, but you’ll also find her in the pool having fun with friends, especially as she can SWIM FOR FREE as a Nottingham Swim School member.

Being active is important for their health too, they work hard at school and exercising is a great way to wind down. When Isabelle comes out the pool, she’s really happy with herself for what she’s achieved.

If you’d like your little one to learn to swim, visit Nottingham Swim School or call us on 0115 8761600 to book a lesson at your nearest leisure centre.

Kicking cigarettes and drinking in to touch

By Erica, Flexible Fitness member since 2015

“I used to smoke 60 a day, maybe more and would drink 6 or 7 pints on a night out”

Giving up smoking and controlling the amount of alcohol I drank, has been two of the best things I’ve ever done to improve my life, apart from going to that first fitness class at Clifton Leisure Centre!

Not only has it meant that I’m off the breathing apparatus, but I’m not taking on board all those calories hidden in alcohol too,  which has helped towards the 8 stone in weight I’ve lost so far!

Once I’d decided to stop smoking, encouraged by my husband, I bought the nicotine chewing gum to help with the cravings.

I’d smoked for so many years that I needed something to do with my hands so I started cross stitching, which really helped.



I’d heard about New Leaf, but if I’m honest, I found that stopping smoking was easier than losing weight and so I managed to do it without any outside help.

I did have the support of my whole family though, who knew that it would mak

e such a difference to my health.  My husband was brilliant and even my boys gave me advice on managing the cravings.

I’ve never totted up what I’ve saved since stopping, but it must be an absolute fortune and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending the extra money on treats for my family especially my grandchildren.

I didn’t drank every day, but would always drink at the weekends whether I stayed in or went out and during the summer I could drink every day when it was hot.

The amount I drank was sometimes more than my entire recommended daily amount of calories and if I went on holiday I’d probably drink even more too so,  stopping really has had a huge impact on my weight loss.

Nowadays, I no longer buy alcohol for the house, as I know it makes me gain weight and I much prefer a cuppa anyway!  If I’m on a night out, I might treat myself to a drink, but it’s very much in  moderation as I now know the harm it can do.

If you want help making a change to your lifestyle, sign up to Flexible Fitness for only £9.99 today.

Food hacks for a healthier you

By your Fitness Advisor Team

We’re often asked for advice on changing eating habits, so we thought we’d pull all our top tips together into one place.

Eating a healthy breakfast will set you up for the day.
Research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and dieters are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off, so opt for whole grains and fruit and you’ll be much less likely to snack during the day, especially if you also eat a healthy lunch and dinner too!

Try swapping your plate for a smaller one.
It’s really simple but can be an effective weight loss tool, as it helps with portion control. Serving your dinner on a  smaller plate means it will look as if you’ve got more to eat and can “trick” your mind into being satisfied.

If you have time, try and keep a food diary.
It’s very easy to forget what you’ve eaten throughout the day, if you don’t record it. By tracking your food intake you’ll be able to spot bad habits and change them into healthy o

nes!  At the very least, it will remind you about those couple of biscuits you had for elevenses when you’re deciding whether to have a dessert after dinner.

You may have heard the saying, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ 
This is so true when you are trying to stay on the healthy route to weight loss. By planning and preparing your meals in advance, you’ll be able to stay on track and you’ll stop being so tempted  to reach for the sugary snacks.

Getting your “5 a day” can really help! 
By eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, which are full of fibre, you’ll feel fuller for longer.  Try adding a handful of berries and slices of banana to your breakfast:  adding onions and mushrooms to bolognaise sauce or lasagne or adding and handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn to a shepherds pie can easily increase your vegetable intake with little or no effort.

Look out for the traffic light system on food packaging.
Nutrition labels can help you choose the right products and keep a check on the amount of foods you’re eating that are high in fat, salt and added sugars.  By comparing these labels when out shopping, you can easily make better choices and still enjoy your favourite foods.

Drink plenty of water!
Did you know that we often confuse feeling hungry with actually being thirsty!  Keeping hydrated throughout the day can stop you from over eating, it’s also great for your complexion and increases energy & relieves fatigue, which is perfect if you’re planning a trip to the gym after work!

Finally, don’t completely ban your favourite foods.
Plan to treat yourself once a week will help stop the cravings.  Enjoying a bacon butty OR small bar of chocolate at the weekends will mean you’re more likely to stick to your healthy eating routine till it becomes a normal way of life.

My top tips on making it work

By Kelly, Flexible Fitness member since 2009

I’m an Account Manager for a Recruitment Agency.

The products are seasonal which can affect the hours I work, normally around 9 hours, but during busy times I can work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, it really is that  demanding.

I use to have an office based job, working in a Call Centre. which had no physical element to it at all.

I enjoyed it, but had to change my lifestyle when it started to affect my mental health, as I found I had no energy or drive and my attendance wasn’t great either.

Some days I cannot be bothered to go to the gym, especially after a long day at work. If I’m in this mind set I don’t set unrealistic targets and I’ll pick a slow activity like Yoga or swimming.

I have set days that I train and I do my upmost to keep to them, but things change and I’ll have to work around it. I don’t beat myself up if I can’t make the gym though, as I find it doesn’t help, I’ll just set a goal f

or the next training day and focus on that.

I also find it really helps to prepare my meals a couple of days in advance, mostly my lunches, and Ihave two fridges at home for all the fresh fruit and veg we eat.

I always make sure I eat breakfast but if I have to go to work extra early,  I take it with me, as I find I can’t eat too early.

Regaining my confidence

By Mina – Flexible Fitness member since 2013

After “eating for two” during my pregnancy and gaining 5 stone in weight before my due date,  I knew that I really needed to do something about it once my daughter arrived, but being overweight had really affected my confidence.

Taking part, for the first time, in one of Tina’s classes, was the best move I’ve ever made, as she made me feel really welcome right from the start and she was so supportive of me as a beginner too.

By offering the option of low intensity moves and making me feel comfortable about my own ability, she allowed me to feel completely ready before I stepped up to the high intensity moves that the majority of the class were doing.

This was much better than me hurting myself early on by trying to do too much and pulling a muscle.

Tina supported and encouraged me in achieving a 100% effective workout too, which is

great as I didn’t want to go to classes and give just 50%, I wanted to see results and I knew that meant giving more.

Because I didn’t feel confident about myself, I used to hide at the back of the class, so that no one could see when I went wrong and didn’t do the routine properly.

I was also worried about my weight, but now, when I look back, I don’t know why I was so worried as there are people of  all shapes and sizes in the classes and not everyone is slim and fit.

I stayed at the back of the class for about a year, even though by then I knew all the moves and gradually as my confidence grew I started to creep towards the front.

The more I got stronger and made friends with some of the amazing ladies in the classes, the more I felt my confidence return.

I now love being at the front of the class, picking up on Tina’s energy and I’m much more happy now I’ve gained back most of my confidence.

If you want help making a change to your lifestyle, sign up to Flexible Fitness for only £9.99 today.

Meet Kelly

…A 33-year-old recruiter who works in the food industry

“I wanted to be able to climb the stairs without getting out of breath…”

Kelly’s journey started in 2009, when she attended her first group cycling class at Nottingham Tennis Centre.

She’d been dieting for a while with a work colleague who’d recommended the class as Kelly hadmentioned she also wanted to work on her legs.

That first class was something Kelly will never forget – she had to leave after 20 minutes, as exercising at that level made her feel really ill. When the class finished, the instructor tracked her down and reassured her that everyone has to start somewhere and that she shouldn’t feel silly or self-conscious.

For the next six weeks, Kelly attended the group cycling class once a week, and, as her fitness improved, she added to her routine until she was attending three times a week.

It took six months before Kelly felt brave enough to go into the gym, but an inner drive to learn how to run drove her onto the treadmill. At first, she practised one-minute run/walk intervals to build up her stamina, then she felt confident enough to run outdoors.

She ran her first park run at Colwick Country Park and loved it, and she was soon planning to compete in the Harvey Hadden 10k, which she completed in 54 minutes. Her hard work and commitment culminated in her completing the 2016 Robin Hood Half Marathon in 2 hours and 8 minutes!

Through dedication and effort, Kelly has lost 5 stone, down from 14, and her size 16–18 clothes have been swapped for size 8s.

“Going to the gym was nerve-racking, but I now value myself more and see training as a treat. It’s ‘me time’, like having my nails done.”

Kelly’s happier and much more confident, and she’s made so many friends at the Tennis Centre. She’s more sociable and friends are often heard asking her advice on training and fitness.

She takes her nephew swimming at Harvey Hadden Sports Village, which is something she wouldn’thave dreamed of doing before, as she didn’t want to be on show. She was the first on the trampoline with him at his recent birthday party too!

Kelly admits to having no co-ordination at all and is often seen doing her own thing in classes…

“Don’t set unrealistic targets, be kind to yourself and don’t be scare to make mistakes!”

If, like Kelly, you’d also like to work towards a fitter, happier you, check out Flexible Fitness today.

Making time to be fit and active

by Erica, Flexible Fitness member since 2015

“I used to be able to train at any time of the day, but now I work 6 days a week…”

When I first started classes, I used to do one or two a week. But, the more I saw the weight drop off and the fitter I became, the more I started to do.

My job as a rapid response cleaner at Queen’s Medical Centre, working the afternoon/evening shift, means that I have to be really determined to keep up with my fitness routine. I swim on Mondays, which I love, and I do four back-to-back fitness classes before heading off to work.

On Tuesdays, I look after my granddaughter, but I still manage a quick swim, then Wednesdays and Thursdays it’s more swimming and classes and Fridays it’s Aqua Fit. On Saturdays, I do Body Attack and Sundays I’m back in the pool. I even go on my days off work!

I try and do 10 classes a week, as I love exercising in a group: it’s loads of fun, and I find they really motivate me, much more than training on my own. If I was asked, I don’t think I could really pick one favourite, as I like them all. But, if pushed, I’d probably choose Bums, Tums and ThighsBody AttackFight Klub and Boogie Bounce as some of the best.

There’s a lot of different instructors and they’re all great – I get on well with them and they really motivate everyone to work as hard as they can.

I get really excited when a new class is launched, as I love trying them out! If you’d asked me a few years ago, though, I don’t think I would have liked any… it’s funny how I’ve changed.


Erica on holiday in 2015

Every now and again, I’ll chat with one of the fitness advisors, as One2Ones are free as part of my membership. They’re really good for help and advice and keep me focused on my goals.

When I’m not in the gym or at work, I love to walk… a lot! I try and use the stairs as much as possible, as I don’t really like lifts, and I recently got a wristband monitor, which tells me how many steps, calories and miles I’ve done, and I love it! It’s great to have a target to aim for each day.

When I look back at where I was two years ago, I can’t believe how much I do now and it just goes to show how things can change, even as you get older.

If you want help making a change to your lifestyle, sign up to Flexible Fitness for only £9.99today.


Erica at her son’s wedding in 2017

Meet Mina

…a 33-year-old stay-at-home mum

“I used to stand at the back of the class and hide, but now I feel so much more confident and want to stand at the front.”

Mina first started going to the gym at John Carroll Leisure Centre when she was 18, with the goal of getting fitter.

This was before the centre’s transformation programme, when the gym was in the “tin hut” at the side of the main building. At the time, Mina “paid and played”, attending the gym when she could. But it wasn’t until after the birth of her youngest daughter, five years ago, that she started to take her health and fitness seriously – having realised how much harm she was doing to her body.

“I used the excuse of eating for two while I was pregnant. I was told by the doctor at 8 months to rein it in, as I’d put on well over 5 stone.”

Post-baby, Mina was an 18–20 dress size, and she decided after just four months to start back at the gym, but soon felt she wasn’t achieving what she wanted to. It was on one of her visits that she was introduced to Tina, one of the fitness instructors at John Carroll, who encouraged her to try one of her classes.

“Tina really brought me out of my shell: she can read me and pushes me when she knows I have more in me than I think.”

Mina started to attend Tina’s classes at other leisure centres, trying out Bums, Tums and Thighs and, later, Zumba, which she really enjoys, as it’s aerobic as well as great fun.

Mina currently manages two classes every day, fitting it in around school drop-off and pick-up. She tries to eat healthily too, but admits to having good and bad days.

“I didn’t want to be super fit and shredded… I just wanted to be fitter and stronger. I don’t weigh myself; I go on inches lost and how my clothes fit.”

Doing so many classes a week, Mina realised that a Flexible Fitness membership would be the best option for her and she joined three years ago.

She now wears size 12–14 clothes and feels great!

If, like Mina, you’re looking to push yourself and feel more confident, check out Flexible Fitness today.

That feeling when…

by Ramnik, Flexible Fitness member since 2011

Training and being physically active simply makes me feel good inside and out.

It’s a natural high, because I know I’m doing my mind, body and soul some good. We can all spend money on material possessions, but many of us invest very little time and money in exercise and nutrition.

Sometimes I struggle with time being a single dad – maintaining a career and managing a home – so I’ll go for a quick 15-minute intense HIIT session at the gym closest to my home. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you just focus on quality over quantity and being able to go to any leisure centre means I can pick and choose which one suits best.

There are times when I feel like I’m too exhausted to train, but I know the best way to fight fatigue is by being active. The endorphin rush helps with how tired I feel and replaces it with “feel-good vibes”. I also find that being active helps me sleep much better too.

Since I started to take health and fitness more seriously, I’ve noticed one big change: when I achieve a new goal, through hard work and willpower, I now ask more of myself, accepting challenges I thought I could never do. I’ve found myself becoming mentally stronger and able to tackle life’s battles much better!

Before I started to train I used to struggle with depression and anxiety and, like many of us, the crazy pace of life affected me far more than I realised. Exercise has changed all that, and I’m now in a much better place, with a positive outlook on life and a drive to succeed.

When we approach any obstacle in life, we can sink or swim, run or hide, break down or overcome. It just takes a degree of self-belief and a “can-do” attitude. Most of us talk a great game, yet may find it hard to bring it to life.

I feel that being physically active works for my mind as much as for my body.

To find out more about how a Flexible Fitness membership can help you feel good, both inside and out, call 0115 876 1600 or pop into one of our leisure centres and join for £9.99 until the end of February.

Meet Alan and Jo

Alan’s a 70-year-old retired plasterer and handyman

“After my first time on a treadmill, I felt like I was floating, like I’d done something amazing.”

Alan’s been going to Clifton Leisure Centre for more years than he can remember – first bringing his children, then his grandchildren, to teach them to swim, as he believes it’s one of the most important things to learn.

Before retiring, work meant Alan was very physically active, but, like others in his family, he still carried a little extra weight and, at age 50, was around 14 stone.

Alan used to enjoy cross-country running at school and was good at it, but, when he left school, work and life seemed to get in the way and he stopped.

At the age of 50, while on holiday with the family in Skegness, Alan was drawn to the holiday park’s gym and somehow managed a whole mile on the treadmill. After that, he was hooked!

He started to use the gym at the Clifton Leisure Centre, gradually increasing his distance, and people started to notice he was losing weight. He now weighs around 10 stone.

“I eat, but I’m conscious… watching salt, sugar and fat without going overboard.”

At 59, Alan started to road run with his friend, Paul. That year, without telling anyone, Alan also enrolled for his first Robin Hood Half Marathon, which he completed in just over two hours!

Alan’s wife, who’s 75, enjoys swimming with him at Clifton and likes walking regularly too.

“She’s already fit and active, but I encouraged her to join me as it’s lovely to spend time together.”

Last year, Alan teamed up with Jo (37), another Flexible Fitness member, who, through Alan’s support, guidance and mentoring, managed to run her first ever Half Marathon in aid of Cancer Research and in memory of her mum.

They’ve become good friends and can regularly be seen training together in preparation for this year’s event.

After a break from the gym due to work pressures, Jo now trains every morning, mixing the treadmill with weights and floor work, and she can’t think of a better person to partner with.

“I don’t know what I’d do without Alan motivating me… he’s like a Dad to me.”

Jo really enjoys going to the gym, and her and Alan have a laugh together while they’re training – she’s recently been showing Alan how to do “the plank”, to help with his core strength!

“You should go to the gym to enjoy yourself, meet new friends and be happy, that way you’ll keep going.”

There are days, since losing her Mum almost a year ago, when Jo finds it hard to motivate herself, but all it takes is a quick phone call from Alan, encouraging her to get to the gym, and she soon finds that her mood lifts and she’s back on track.

They currently run 5 miles twice a week in the gym and, when the weather warms up a little, they’ll be back out road running up to 10 miles on Sundays too.

“Running the Half Marathon with Alan last year was an amazing experience, and crossing the finish line together was incredible… I’m really looking forward to taking part again and, you never know, I might beat him this year!”

Get fit and meet new people, like Alan and Jo, with a Flexible Fitness membership check out Flexible Fitness today.

6 snacks under 100 calories perfect for kids

Headlines have hit urging parents to reduce children’s snacking to only two snacks a day. The added thing to think about is that they’re all to weigh in at 100 calories each. A discovery by Public Health England found on average, primary school age children eat at least three sugary snacks a day. As well as their main meals! Even Celebrity Masterchef winner and mum, Lisa Faulkner is jumping on the bandwagon to support this initiative!

Of course we’d all like to keep our kids healthy and happy, but, who has time to count calories when you’re trying to run a family home and everything else on your plate (excuse the pun!)? Interested in making your kids healthy snacks? Here are 6 tasty options that all come in at 100 calories or less. Kids will love them!

1. Savoury – Rice Cakes and Cheese

Kicking off our savoury snacks is a crunchy and cheesy dream. Lightly-salted rice cakes with low fat cream cheese or cheese triangle! One supermarket own brand lightly-salted rice cake comes in at 27 calories. Two of these with a Laughing Cow light triangle on each comes in at under 100 calories.


2. Sweet – Fruity Yoghurt Sundae
This one is perfect for a weekend snack or an after dinner treat because it’s sweet and feels like a pudding. Berries are fantastic because they’re packed with antioxidants and essential C vitamins. Plus they’re delicious to boot. 100 grams of 0% fat Greek style yoghurt, 40g of raspberries and 40g of blueberries comes in at 98 calories. This should be around 8-10 raspberries and around a tablespoon of blueberries.

Don’t worry too much about the exact weighing out of the yoghurt. If you start to weigh it out on the scales to start with, you’ll learn how many spoonfuls it is to the weight. It’ll soon become second nature and it’ll be quick to do!

Want to sweeten the yoghurt a tiny bit more? Mash up some of the raspberries and swirl them around in the yoghurt for natural flavouring. You could even pop it in the freezer for half an hour and make it more like frozen yoghurt – dessert in a flash!


3. Savoury – Cheese & Crunchy Veg Sticks

Sometimes, all you need is a little crunchy snack, isn’t it? Kids feel the same – this is why they love crisps so much! Give them that savoury hit and some crunch at the same time. Why not try a mini picnic of Babybel cheese, carrot sticks and cucumber batons? This will definitely fill them up and it’s great finger food if they’re chilling out watching a movie. A mini Babybel light comes in at 42 calories. 100g of cucumber batons (around a two inch portion chopped up) is 16 calories and 50g of carrot sticks are 20 calories. Sorted.


4. Sweet – Peanut Butter on Toast

Kids love toast. It’s comforting, delicious and luckily for the parents, it’s easy! One slice of supermarket white Danish loaf is usually around 50-55 calories. 9-10g (a good teaspoon!) of natural peanut butter is also around 50 calories. You can pick up organic and natural peanut butters in most good supermarkets. These will be free from refined sugars, nasty trans fats and hydrogenated oils. They don’t taste much different. You could even mix the two together to begin with to wean children off the sugary stuff!


5. Savoury – Boiled Eggs & Ham Snack Pots

This one is perfect for lunch boxes, Saturday brunch and after school snacks. A boiled egg is around 65-80 calories, depending on size, and a slice of ham is usually 20 calories. This little snack has the added protein element that will keep kids fuller for longer. It rocks in at 10g of the healthy stuff – winner! Pop some tomato ketchup on the side and this is a surefire winner.


6. Sweet – Popcorn

Let’s be honest, as much as we try, not everything our kids eat will be fresh and not from a packet. Occasionally, it’s so much easier to pop a packet in your bag when out and about. Or, grab one from the cupboard when rushing around at home – you’re busy! Never fear, we have the answer. Popcorn is a great, low calorie snack that is tasty. Brands like Propercorn have created smaller packs for kids that come in at 12g and a tiny bit over 50 calories. So, if they’re really starving – they can have two!


There we have it, 3 sweet and 3 savoury snack ideas to keep kids going between main meals. All are easy to whip up and all are 100 calories or under. Of course, there are tonnes of other snacks that are around 100 calories.  A medium banana is around 100 calories. Packets of lentil crisps are usually under 100 calories and apples come it at 70. There are loads of options that are lower sugar than your average snack. These will keep kids fuller for longer and healthier in the long run.

Happy snacking!

Words: Allie Redmond

Did you know you can speak to one of our Fitness Advisors about healthy eating and how it can help with you fitness levels and health? You can do this by booking your One2One Programme as part of your Flexible Fitness membership! To book your One2One Programme, pop into your nearest leisure centre or call us on 0115 876 1600.

Meet Erica

A 48-year-old rapid response cleaner at Queen’s Medical Centre

In March 2015, Erica’s husband of 30 years made a bet that she wouldn’t be able to stick to a gym membership.

She hadn’t had much success with all the Slimming World and Weight Watchers diets and DVDs over the years, only losing a pound or two here and there.

Despite dreading it at first, all it took was for her son’s mother-in-law to bring her along to a Bums, Tums and Thighs exercise class at Clifton Leisure Centre, and she was hooked.

After six weeks, trying all the different classes, Erica stayed on track with her Flexible Fitness membership, and she’s since lost 8 stone and returned to work after 25 years.

“I’m tired, but I still go… I feel lethargic if I don’t, so I have to keep it up.”

And not just any old work either – Erica works six days at the hospital and ends up racking up around 28 miles on each shift!

Erica goes to Clifton Leisure Centre regularly – sometimes up to ten times a week – fitting in her exercise before she starts work in the afternoons.

“I like going there… I go and chat to everybody. It’s a close community.”

Erica has found that regular exercise, and swimming in particular, has helped her to live a much healthier lifestyle in every aspect – kicking her 80-a-day smoking habit, cutting down on drinking and generally being more active.

This has made a huge difference in helping to manage her long-term illness – she no longer has to use a breathing machine and has become much less reliant on medication. It’s also made a real difference when it comes to spending time with her family and three young grandchildren.

“I couldn’t even get out of the chair before… Now I can run all over!”

If, like Erica, you want to make a change, whether it’s losing weight or just leading a healthier lifestyle, check out Flexible Fitness today.

Meet Ramnik

…A 39-year-old learning and development trainer and freelance photographer

“If I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it wholeheartedly.”

Ramnik started training at the gym when he was 26 years old.

Like a lot of people, he wanted to get lean… but his main goal was to improve his overall wellbeing. For Ramnik, training is less about vanity and bulking up and more about de-stressing and being healthier in every sense of the word.

“I’ve gone through anxiety, a lot of hardship… Everyone’s got baggage in their lives, and the gym is a great place to let that go.”

Ramnik started his Flexible Fitness membership 7 years ago, with a free One2One Programme at Ken Martin Leisure Centre. Throughout the four sessions, Angie, one of the fitness advisors, provided tailored advice and support.

Soon, Ramnik started circuit training classes and began to take his fitness more seriously – learning about anatomy and nutrition through online research and talking to his trainers.

He’s since gone on to participate in triathlons and other endurance Obstacle Course Race events, and he’s currently training for Tough Mudder in May this year.

“Every New Year, everyone wants to diet, everyone wants to go to the gym… Fitness is a lifestyle. It’s something that becomes part of what you do. And you keep doing it.”

Ramnik makes use of his Flexible Fitness membership 3–6 times a week, at leisure centres across the city. Though he mainly uses the gyms – for bodyweight training, HIIT, spinning, and running – Ramnik also enjoys swimming occasionally and relaxing in the health suites.

He’s now taken his interest in fitness to the next level, having started a Level 2 Diploma in Fitness Instructor, with plans to progress to a Level 3 in Personal Trainer next.

When he’s not working, training or studying (!), Ramnik is a busy dad to his 4-year-old daughter. Taking after her dad, she’s already completed Notts Gym Tots Level 1 and run a 3k to raise money for breast cancer research!

“It really has changed my world for the better…”

If Ramnik’s story has inspired you, check out Flexible Fitness today and take the first step towards a healthier, fitter, happier you.