We’re counting down the days until Southglade Leisure Centre gym reopens following its refurbishment and we’re so excited! We’ve been planning some amazing things behind the scenes for you to enjoy alongside the refreshed gym, keep reading to find out more – launching 11 December 2023.
VIP gym reopening – Monday 11 December
Click here to book your Fitness+ VIP early access slot to your new gym at Southglade Leisure Centre.
For each place booked, you can bring along a friend to try out the new gym for free! Best of all, we have some giveaways and offers available at Southglade Leisure Centre on Monday 11 December to celebrate the reopening of the gym! Please be aware there are photographers on site on 11 December taking pictures of the reopening, so smile for the camera!
Side note – on the booking screen, if you’re bringing a guest, please select the option that states VIP Gym Launch with guest – only select this option once. Our system will deduct two spaces for you.
Exciting News: Fitness Class Programme at Southglade Leisure Centre is getting a makeover.
Mark your calendars for December 11, 2023! Southglade Leisure Centre’s Fitness Class programme is getting a fresh update.
We’ve listened to your feedback on our current programme and have redesigned it to better suit your needs. Get ready to experience a new and improved workout routine.
Book an activity/session now – click here to get started.
What’s new at Victoria Leisure Centre
Victoria Leisure Centre gym has now reopened following its refurbishment and we’re so excited! We’ve planned some amazing things behind the scenes for you to enjoy alongside the refreshed gym, keep reading to find out more.
Calm Functional Gym at Victoria Leisure Centre
We’re excited to introduce the Calm Functional Gym, located on the ground floor of the Victoria Leisure Centre. This gym is perfect for those who prefer to work out in a quieter environment.
During our Calm Functional Gym sessions, we make sure to:
Lower the volume of the music
Reduce capacity to provide a less crowded experience
Ask all gym-goers to be mindful of their noise levels, and to use headphones if necessary.
Please note that Calm Functional Gym sessions are only available during selected time slots. Click here to book.
Dedicated Ladies Only Functional Gym at Victoria Leisure Centre!
As part of our gym’s refurbishment, we’re thrilled to announce the addition of a Ladies Only Functional Gym.
This area, located on the ground floor, is perfect for toning up and improving overall fitness. Our functional gym zone offers a variety of cardiovascular, functional, and strength equipment to cater to your workout needs.
Enjoy a relaxed and friendly atmosphere while working out at your own pace and level, either with friends or by yourself.
Please note that Ladies Only Functional gym sessions are available during selected time slots only. Click here to book.
Exciting News: Fitness Class Programme at Victoria Leisure Centre is getting a makeover.
We’ve listened to your feedback on our current programme and have redesigned it to better suit your needs. Get ready to experience a new and improved workout routine.
Book an activity/session now – click here to get started.
Active Nottingham wins an internationally recognised health and safety accolade from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has scooped a prestigious RoSPA Gold Award in the Leisure Safety category for the fourth time, demonstrating its commitment to high health and safety standards.
In addition to the RoSPA Gold Award, Active Nottingham was also presented with the RoSPA Leisure Safety Trophy; which is given to the overall highest performer within the Leisure Safety Award category and recognises excellence in health and safety management.
The RoSPA Health and Safety Awards is the UK’s largest occupational health and safety awards programme. Now into its 67th year, the Awards have almost 2,000 entries every year, covering nearly 50 countries and a reach of over seven million employees. The programme recognises organisations’ commitment to continuous improvement in the prevention of accidents and ill health at work, looking at entrants’ overarching health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.
While most awards are non-competitive – recognising individual organisations’ achievements – competitive awards are presented in 20 industry sectors and for specialist areas of health and safety management.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis said: “I am thrilled the team have achieved Gold at the RoSPA Awards. To achieve this for a fourth time is a credit to the hard work of the management team and staff at each of our leisure centres, who ensure the safety of our customers is a top priority.
“I’m delighted Active Nottingham has been recognised, for being one of the best in the country within the leisure industry, even more so with the addition of the RoSPA Leisure Safety Trophy.”
Julia Small, RoSPA’s Achievements Director, said: “Accidents at work and work-related ill health don’t just have huge financial implications or cause major disruption – they significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. That’s why good safety performance deserves to be recognised and rewarded.
“We are thrilled that Active Nottingham has won a RoSPA Award and would like to congratulate them on showing an unwavering commitment to keeping their employees, clients and customers safe from accidental harm and injury.”
Sponsored by Croner-i, the RoSPA Awards scheme is the longest-running of its kind in the UK, and receives entries from organisations across the globe, making it one of the most sought-after achievement awards for the health and safety industry.
Pictured left to right:
Errol Taylor – RoSPA, Chief Executive.
Geoff Ritson – Nottingham City Council, Sport and Leisure – Health, Safety and Training Manager
Notes to Editor(s)
Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre. Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre.
About the RoSPA Awards
The RoSPA Awards is one of the most prestigious and recognised health and safety schemes in the world with almost 2,000 entries every year from more than 50 countries, with a total reach of over seven million employees. Running for nearly 70 years, it recognises and rewards organisations, individuals and teams that go above and beyond to achieve health and safety excellence.
About the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) RoSPA is a not-for-profit organisation that has worked for more than 100 years to help people recognise and reduce their risk of accidents, at home, on the road, at work and at leisure. Their goal is to enable everyone to live their lives to the full, safely. For further information on RoSPA and its history, please see here.
Active Nottingham swimming pools awarded PoolMark Accreditation
Swimmers attending any of the six Active Nottingham swimming pools, part of Nottingham City Council, can be assured they meet the highest quality standards after achieving the PoolMark Accreditation from the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG).
The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) is the leading authority on swimming pool operation, water treatment and technical information relating to health and safety.
PoolMark is the UK National Standard for quality, healthy pools. The PoolMark certification assures operators and the public that the pool meets essential healthy pool operational standards.
Pools that follow and achieve the Code’s standards through assessment are awarded a plaque and certificate to show their achievement.
Jonathan Cook (Swimming Pools Technical Officer) and Ian Dunphy (Assistant Manager/Project Lead) from Clifton Leisure Centre (pictured above) said: “We’re proud to have undertaken this journey for Active Nottingham’s swimming pools. It’s a first for Nottingham City, as only 42 swimming pools (out of the 800+ pools in the UK) have been accredited, and we have six of those – it’s a huge achievement for us.”
Active Nottingham gyms undergo a major transformation
The gyms at Harvey Hadden Sports Village and Clifton Leisure Centre are currently being transformed as part of a wider £1.5m investment for new equipment and set to reopen to the public on Tuesday 28 March 2023.
The average lifespan for a cardio machine is five years and the costs to repair will outstrip the value of the machine, resulting in a higher repair bill. This £1.5m cash injection will make sure each centre has new kit for gym-goers to use.
The money has been set aside to support the income generated from customers, allowing the investment to be made without the need for borrowing or impacting on wider day-to-day council services.
Active Nottingham, which is part of Nottingham City Council, is investing the money over five years across all of its six leisure centres – Harvey Hadden, Clifton, Ken Martin, Southglade, Victoria and Djanogly.
The revamp at Clifton and Harvey Hadden features premium equipment from Life Fitness, Hammer Strength and ICG ® – suitable for all training interests and fitness levels. The new kit will also feature immersive digital experiences with new cardio consoles, a functional zone with a stretching area and environmentally friendly Green Zones with self-powered equipment so more can be done to help the environment.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “it was great to visit the gym at Clifton Leisure Centre this week during the installation process, to see the new and improved facilities, meet the team and see their excitement for the gym to reopen. I’m confident these improvements will become a real asset to the community.
“We are refurbishing all Active Nottingham gyms across the city, to make sure wherever people live, they have the opportunity and access to high-quality fitness equipment.”
On Monday 27 March, both Clifton Leisure Centre and Harvey Hadden Sports Village will reopen their doors to the gym for a VIP Open Day, where Master Trainers from Life Fitness will be on hand to help customers utilise the new equipment. Members will also be invited to bring along a friend for free for the day.
To tie in with the reopening, residents will be able to take advantage of a special joining offer of three-month Fitness+ membership for £70 (a saving of £40) when visiting either Clifton or Harvey Hadden Sports Village.
For more information on the refurbishment project, visit Active Nottingham’s website here.
Active Nottingham set to invest £1.5m in gym equipment
Gyms at Harvey Hadden Sports Village and Clifton Leisure Centre are in line to receive a share of £1.5m for new equipment over the next few months.
Active Nottingham, which is part of Nottingham City Council, is set to invest the money over five years across all of its six leisure centres – Harvey Hadden, Clifton, Ken Martin, Southglade, Victoria and Djanogly.
Harvey Hadden and Clifton will be the first in line to receive new equipment from Spring 2023.
The average lifespan for a cardio machine is five years and the costs to repair will outstrip the value of the machine, resulting in a higher repair bill.
This £1.5m cash injection will make sure each centre has new kit for gym-goers to use.
Active Nottingham has set money aside to support the income generated from customers, allowing the investment to be made without the need for borrowing or impacting on wider day-to-day council services.
With increasing membership numbers and by listening to members, replacing old equipment will improve customer satisfaction as well as mental and physical health and wellbeing.
It will also allow Active Nottingham to remain competitive in an ever-growing sport and leisure marketplace – especially as today’s gym-goer wants to see smart technology on fitness equipment to enhance the gym experience.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I am pleased we are investing in our residents’ mental health and wellbeing by replacing the current gym equipment. This will play an important role in the promotion of getting more people active within our community.”
John Wileman, Head of Sport and Leisure for Active Nottingham, said: “This is great news for our members and local residents at each of the six Active Nottingham locations. We are always looking to improve and replacing our equipment means our gyms are not just great to use, but we are directly helping the city of Nottingham.”
The state-of-the-art fitness equipment will be purchased by Active Nottingham over the next five years, providing an enhanced gym experience to residents and members at Active Nottingham’s six leisure centres.
Active Nottingham Leisure Centre first in the country to be recognised for tackling inequalities
Active Nottingham’s Ken Martin Leisure Centre (part of Nottingham City Council) in Nottingham has become the first leisure centre in the country to achieve the Quest Tackling Inequalities in Leisure Standard, demonstrating its commitment to tackling inequalities.
First established more than 20 years ago, the renowned Quest award has evolved over the years to keep pace with the ever-changing sport and leisure industry, now including aspects such as the Tackling Inequalities assessment and an Exercise on Referral Standard. Still the sector’s best-known improvement programme, its rigorous assessments challenge even the very best leisure centres in the UK.
Councillor Pavlos Kotsonis, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “I’m thrilled that our efforts and the ongoing work at Ken Martin Leisure Centre have been recognised with the Tackling Inequalities in Leisure Standard. This is a fantastic achievement and a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team. As a service, Active Nottingham is committed to providing accessible leisure facilities and I hope this encourages more local residents with disabilities and those with long-term health conditions to be active.”
Ken Martin Leisure Centre was recognised for working hard to ensure all demographics of the local community are welcome and find the centre accessible, which includes partnering with trusted local organisations, such as housing associations, primary care networks, social prescribing teams and mental health services.
The Sport and Physical Activity team have also been working with the community to help remove any barriers to access through campaigns such as Get Out Get Active, This Girl Can and the Disability Sport Insight and Participation project, which invited people living with a disability to try the facility for free in exchange for honest feedback.
Kirsty Worthington, General Manager at Ken Martin Leisure Centre says: “As well as proactively researching the demographics of our area so we can anticipate some of our community’s needs, we take a more holistic and individualistic appreciation of their requirements by working with partners, such as My Sight Notts, Disability Direct and the Women’s Centre, and local projects, including community-based sports groups, to directly engage with people living in the local area.
“This includes attending local meetings and events, such as community fun days, inviting groups to attend the centre and help alleviate first-time visit anticipation, as well as offering virtual tours and subtitled centre walk-through videos on our website and social media, so people know what to expect in advance.
“The area around the centre has some of the highest levels of deprivation across the UK, experiencing a number of health challenges. Added to this, the area has a mixed population of ethnicities, including new and emerging communities, a large proportion of families and single-parent families, as well as a significant population of older people. We need to offer programmes and activities that truly cater for everyone.”
Some of the activities that ticked the boxes for the Tackling Inequalities in Leisure Standard assessment team include Swim for Health, a 50+ morning and line dancing classes, which all attract a diverse attendance, as well as low-intensity mental health mindfulness classes, which enable customers to learn mindfulness meditation practices to help relax, reduce stress, slow down and live their life in the present.
Along with Active Nottingham’s other leisure centres, Ken Martin also boasts CredAbility accreditation; an independent quality mark run by disabled people, and the CredAbility Access Card, a national scheme that commits organisations to providing a quality service to people with a disability. The CredAbility Access +1 card scheme also allows holders to gain free access for essential companions or carers at Active Nottingham leisure centres.
Kirsty explains: “The CredAbility Access Card acts as evidence that someone needs support to use our services or is eligible for our offers. Not only does it mean we discreetly know they are entitled to concessionary prices and may require individual help, they know we are a verified accessible venue with their best interests at heart.”
Sarah Maxwell, Head of External Accreditations at Right Directions, which manages Quest on behalf of Sport England, says: “We were truly impressed with the investment Ken Martin Leisure Centre has made around inclusivity for its local community. For instance, the video on the Swim School is one of the most inclusive videos I have seen as an Assessor, with information being available in picture, sound and caption formats for members of the community, users and coaches.
“All the evidence, which includes investment in Disability Training Scenario Videos and Unconscious Bias Training to help prepare staff for their roles, demonstrates the centre and organisation are quality, not quantity, driven, with a focus on individual opportunities and thought, without taking a ‘blanket approach’ to their customers’ needs.”
Active Nottingham leisure centre awarded top marks on ‘Quest’ for excellence
Active Nottingham’s Ken Martin Leisure Centre has been awarded ‘Excellent’ for its facilities and services, recognising high quality within UK Sport and Leisure.
An industry standard developed by the UK Sports Council, Quest assessors look at a range of factors including operational management and approaches to engaging with customers through to community outcomes. Taking place over a two-day on-site assessment and a mystery shopper visit, the overall process ensures a thorough review takes place and provides assurances a quality service is being provided to residents.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I’m thrilled Ken Martin Leisure Centre has been awarded ‘Excellent’ for its performance and management on the latest Quest Assessment. This is a testament to the incredible work and dedication of our front-line staff delivering best practice and the highest industry standard for the benefit of Nottingham residents using the centre.”
Ken Martin Leisure Centre General Manager, Kirsty Worthington, said: “Thank you to everyone at Ken Martin Leisure Centre and the wider Sport and Leisure teams for their assistance and support during the Quest preparation as well as the recent two-day assessment. It’s brilliant news for us all that we were rated as ‘Excellent’ as it highlights the hard work that is put into Ken Martin Leisure Centre. The hard work does not stop here, we will continue to assess, reflect and progress the site and the services we offer to Nottingham residents and customers. Great job everyone!”.
Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre, and Victoria Leisure Centre.
Take a virtual tour of Active Nottingham without leaving your house!
A NEW virtual tour promoting the facilities of six leisure centres in Nottingham has been launched by Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council.
The online tool not only allows users to see inside each Active Nottingham leisure centre but also view spaces from 360-degree angles. During the tour, potential members can gain virtual access to the facilities and visit each building from the comfort of their mobile device or computer.
Active Nottingham is much more than just a ‘gym’ with indoor swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms and a range of exercise classes, there is something for everyone and the new virtual tour allows potential members to explore the layout and details prior to arrival.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said:
“I’m delighted Active Nottingham have launched their virtual tours, especially as they provide flexibility for potential members as well as those who may not be comfortable with having an in-person tour and want the freedom to view the leisure centres at their leisure.
“The tours also offer valuable information for service users wanting to understand access arrangements, where the changing rooms are, where specific rooms are for classes etc.
“Nottingham residents will benefit greatly from these tours and I hope they will inspire more people to get active.”
Brown Gal Can’t Swim: City Council helps BBC presenter to get South Asian women swimming
Summaya Mughal (left) and Alice Dearing (right). Image: Charlie Firth
Nottingham-born BBC presenter Summaya Mughal has been learning to swim at Active Nottingham pools in a bid to encourage other South Asian women to take the plunge.
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has supported her during her journey which she starts sharing on air this week. Her five-part series looks into learning to swim at the age of 27 and explores why many South Asian women are less likely to swim.
In revealing that she couldn’t swim, Summaya exposed the cultural barriers that she faced and how it has affected her both physically and mentally. As part of this journey, Summaya has given other members of the South Asian community the confidence to take their first steps into swimming.
The series titled ‘Brown Gal Can’t Swim’ sees Summaya learn to swim in just eight weeks at Active Nottingham swimming pools, supported by Nottingham Swim School swimming teacher Victoria Charles. Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Alice Dearing also provide support and guidance and set Summaya additional challenges including a 500m open water swim – will she do it? You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of this project with Summaya and the BBC to help raise awareness and showcase the importance of learning to swim within South Asian communities. This campaign will go a long way to help break down barriers that people face when it comes to swimwear, changing rooms, and going swimming itself and help get more communities involved in swimming.
“Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School are proud to have helped Summaya learn to swim over the past eight weeks and it was great to see her face the 500m open water challenge at Spring Lakes.
“Summaya has also worked with the black swimming association to challenge the lack of representation of black and Asian people in both recreational and elite swimming – she also engaged with Olympic swimmers Becky Adlington and Alice Dearing in her campaign, who both set her challenges for Summaya to complete.
Her work with diverse communities is second to none, both engaging as well as empowering!”
Swimming is the only sport which could save your life and is a tremendous amount of fun for all people of all ages and children especially, enjoy getting into the water. But it is important to swim safely. It’s also important to remember children (and adults) who appear to be confident in the water are not always competent swimmers.
Reasons why you should learn to swim
Swimming provides many health benefits by keeping your heart and lungs healthy
Improves your strength and flexibility
Improves balance and posture
Swimming provides challenges and rewards accomplishments – which helps children to become self-confident and believe in their abilities
Lastly, your child will have plenty of opportunities to make friends and grow in confidence.
It’s the only sport that can save a life
Swimming teaches us about water safety, not only in the water but around it too
If taught early on in life it will help with physical development skills such as muscle tone and hand-eye coordination
According to Swim England:
Swimming provides challenges and rewards accomplishments, which helps children (and adults) to become self-confident and believe in their abilities
You can have the opportunity to make friends and grow in confidence
Learning to swim is a skill for life and is rarely forgotten, swimming doesn’t care about age either making it an accessible sport for all.
Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School are one of the largest swimming lesson providers in Nottingham. Learn to Swim today and make a lifelong difference, enquire here.
Brown Gal Can’t Swim: Summaya Mughal aims to get South Asian women swimming
Left to Right: Summaya Mughal and Alice Dearing. Image: Charlie Firth
Nottingham-born and raised Summaya Mughal, a BBC presenter and podcaster for BBC Radio Sounds and Radio Leicester is presenting a five-part series which explores why many South Asian women are less likely to swim.
The series, Brown Gal Can’t Swim (BGCS), will see Summaya take on swimming challenges set by Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Alice Dearing. She said: “I’ve spent over 20 years embarrassed about not having a skill it feels like kids have”.
Breaking down barriers and misconceptions
Statistics from Swim England show people from black and Asian backgrounds are less likely to swim than those from white communities, with 49% of black and Asian communities unable to swim 25m unaided.
Summaya aims to break down misconceptions about swimming and encourage members of the South Asian community to get behind her campaign and learn to swim.
About the journey itself, Summaya says: “It has tested me physically and emotionally but I’m hoping it makes a difference and encourages others to learn to swim too. After all, it could save your life.”
As part of the BGCS project Summaya is challenged to swim 50m in a swimming pool by Rebecca Adlington and 500m in open water by Alice Dearing in just eight weeks – will she do it? Keep listening to the BGCS podcast daily from Monday 10 October 2022.
Did you know swimming is the only sport which could save your life, according to Swim England.
Swimming is a tremendous amount of fun for all people of all ages and children, especially, who enjoy getting into the water. But it is important to swim safely. Check out our blog for the importance of learning to swim, you can read it here.
Good luck with the campaign Summaya, Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School is proud to work with you on this project and we all look forward to seeing more about it in the next few days!
Active Nottingham named finalists at the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, is delighted to have been named by Swim England as 2022 Awards Finalists after entering the awards for the first time.
They have been shortlisted in two categories:
Swim School of the Year – Nottingham Swim School
Swimming Teacher of the Year – Deborah Williams, Nottingham Swim School.
Deborah Williams was awarded ‘Runner Up’ for Swimming Teacher of the Year after being nominated by Nottingham Swim School parents and students from Djanogly Community Leisure Centre and Southglade Leisure Centre.
Additionally, Nottingham City Council’s School Swimming department came away with School Swimming Provider of the Year for the second year in a row.
Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I’m delighted Active Nottingham has been successful in their efforts to become finalists at the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022 in two categories. This is an incredible achievement to all the team for their incredibly hard yet rewarding work.
“Well done to Deborah Williams for achieving ‘Runner Up’ in the Swimming Teacher of the Year category. Deborah should be very proud of her achievement, as should all who were nominated.
“Congratulations also to our Nottingham City Council colleagues for winning School Swimming Provider of the Year for a second year in a row, with special thanks to School Swimming Manager, Claire Moores – well deserved.”
Nottingham Swim School Manager, Claire Sullivan, said “We’re pleased Nottingham Swim School was nominated for Swim School of the Year, alongside many of our Nottingham Swim School teachers in the Swim Teacher of the Year category.
“As a City Council delivering both school swimming (during the daytime) and Nottingham Swim School (Monday-Friday 4-6.30 pm and weekends) we are committed to teaching as many children and young people in our City to swim and to learn this vital life skill.”
Nottingham City Council School Swimming Manager, Claire Moores, said “Thank you to the Sport and Leisure teams at Active Nottingham for providing us such a fabulous learning environment for school pupils to learn new and essential life skills. How we pull together from collaboration to delivery is a real team effort, and the Swim Teachers should be very proud of the recognition of all their hard work.”
The Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022 took place in Solihull on Thursday 28 September and gave Swim England the chance to honour the very best of the swimming workforce within the UK. It’s a chance to highlight the innovations and achievements of the best educators, swimming teachers, tutors and swim schools within the sport and recognise their success.
Nottingham Swim School operates swimming lessons at six Active Nottingham leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre
From Group Fitness to Swim School
Meet Elidia, Group Fitness Instructor for Active Nottingham and now Swim School Teacher for Nottingham Swim School (part of Active Nottingham). We recently caught up with Elidia to find out about her fitness journey and what led her to become a Swim School Teacher.
Hi Elidia, thanks for catching up with us today. So…how did you get into the fitness industry?
I was originally training in the gym as a customer/service user and during that time frame, I worked in the nursery for Nottingham Nursery in Radford. I thought, being in the nursery industry I’ll always have a job, but sadly, it didn’t work out for me and I was made redundant.
I thought to myself, well I love gym training and doing fitness classes, why don’t I train to become a fitness instructor – that way I can still do my fitness and work in the gym. I completed all my required training and passed, turns out I never ended up working in the gym and jumped on fitness classes. I’m overwhelmed at how much I’ve progressed from working in a nursery to where I am now as a Swim Teacher!
How long have you worked in the fitness industry and what is your favourite class to teach?
About four years, which has gone so quick! I would definitely say Group Cycling is my favourite class to teach – which I do at Southglade but also do cover work.
I need to try Group Cycling (said in disbelief they’ve just said that – haha)
Yes, you do Carrie. Group cycling is good fun. Come along, it’s great for all abilities as we offer beginner classes and intermediate. All of my classes are designed to get your heart pumping, have fun and improve your skills. Group cycling is amazing for balance, stamina, speed and rhythm as you have to keep in time to the music – I will push you, but it’s for your benefit!
What other classes do you run?
Aqua Fit – which is literally for everyone of all ages and abilities. I also teach ladies-only aqua fit classes on a Sunday morning at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre (nice plug, we see what you did there). I have my vision and what music I’ll play in each class. I don’t want to keep my classes the same every week so I will play about with the routine and mix it up, so it doesn’t become same-old same-old. Keeps everyone on their toes! I’m also a stickler for time-keeping and starting on time so it’s fair to everyone in the class.
Also teach H.I.I.T, Circuits, Stretch and Tone (I like Stretch and Tone). I cover a lot of classes too.
You’ve done the different group fitness classes for a number of years now, what was the main reason for you wanting to become a Swim Teacher?
I was told many years ago, but the ladies I worked with in the nursery, “don’t put all your eggs into one basket”. I thought I’ve worked with children (in the nursery), so I thought I could marry the two elements together (as I also do Aqua Fit classes) and put all my skills together and become a Swim School Teacher so I can give back what I’ve learnt to teach children and help them progress.
Did you find it hard doing your Swim Teacher training?
It wasn’t easy, I found it intense (especially with still teaching group fitness classes) but at the same time my dad passed away so had a lot of emotions to cope with. I can’t believe that I’ve actually passed my Swim Teacher qualifications as I thought I was going to give up. But I believe my dad was watching over me, pushing me to complete and I’m glad I continued with it all as it’s been really rewarding. Ever time I found myself not wanting to continue with it, I would push myself more and write more lesson plans to keep focused. Nottingham City Council and the rest of the team in Active Nottingham has been so supportive and encouraging.
Would you recommend becoming a Swim Teacher?
Yes I would. I’m loving it, I’m loving this – I should have done it years ago!!!!
I hear you’ve now received your certificates now to show you’re fully qualified and raring to go.
Yessss! I have, I have received them. I have my first induction today and tomorrow and then I can start on the programme in September. I saw all the different people teaching Aqua Babies and thought yes I could do that, then they also explained you can progress with coaching and perhaps (one day) we can coach swimming for the Olympics. So I’ve gone from thinking I’ll be teaching Aqua Babies but wow, I could also do some coaching too! The opportunities with training to be a Nottingham Swim School teacher are incredible.
What’s your plan over the next few years now?
Hopefully, I can continue to teach swim school with the different age groups (including adults as well) but I’d love to coach and also become a mentor! But teaching aqua babies I’m looking forward to that, as that’s where you can build a child’s water confidence and from there they can progress through the different stages and get their different hats.
For those that aren’t aware, as people progress through the different swim school stages with Nottingham Swim School they will receive a new hat to correspond with the new stage that they’re in. Similar to different coloured belts in Judo, Karate etc.
Thank you for your time. It’s been great hearing about your fitness journey. You’ve gone full circle from just working out in the gym to now Swim School Teacher/Group Fitness Instructor.
Are you a morning or evening person? Some people find it easier to exercise in the morning as their energy levels are at their highest, others prefer to wait until the evening as it fits better with their daily life.The time of day we choose to workout will depend on many things – ultimately it needs to fit in with everything in our lives. It needs to fit around work, studies, family and other commitments. We also need to choose times best suited to our bodies and our natural energy levels. The best time to exercise is down to us, working out whenever we can and being consistent.There are some benefits to exercising at certain times of the day, take a look below.
Exercising first thing in the morning and on an empty stomach has been shown to burn more fat than after eating a meal. Your body tends to use up fat stores for fuel rather than using energy from the meal you just ate.
Mood boosters – starting your day with endorphins – those “feel-good, happy hormones” can have a sustained effect on your mood for the remainder of the day.
Being more productive – exercising in the morning can help to improve energy and concentration levels – helping you to be more alert and ultimately better and quicker at doing tasks.
Improve your body clock over time, making you more energetic in the mornings and sleepier at night – helping you to fall asleep quickly and enjoy a better quality of sleep.
Important: if exercising in the morning don’t forget to sufficiently warm up. Your muscles and joints tend to be “colder” when you have just woken up and are more prone to injury.
Studies have shown most people tend to perform physically better later in the day – power, muscle strength and flexibility are normally better in the evening than in the morning.
Your body will be warmer as your core temperature increases as the day progresses, meaning you will feel more flexible and be able to move easier than earlier in the day.
Afternoon or evening exercise, especially at the end of a busy day may help you to relieve stress. Endorphins produced during exercise can also help you wind down before bed, especially as exercising in the evenings could replace other habits such as watching television, drinking alcohol or excessive snacking.
Some research has suggested that testosterone production may also be higher in the evening – this hormone is important for building muscle in men and women.
Regardless of the time of day we exercise, it is still very important to ensure we warm up sufficiently.
Try to find a time to work out that suits your lifestyle – taking all aspects into consideration – but most importantly, a time that you will consistently be able to stick with in the long run.
Working out in the heat
It might be hot out but we also want you to stay active but safely! So, here are some tips for keeping your cool when working out!
Split up workouts: If the summer heat is too challenging for you, break the day up into multiple smaller workouts. This allows your body to rest, refuel and regain some precious energy without impacting on your fitness goals.
Dress appropriately: Don’t be tempted to choose fashion over function, pick clothing that is lightweight, loose-fitting and lighter coloured clothes to help keep your core body temperature lower.
Timing: Avoid the midday heat (or the hottest part of the day – as this could actually be 5 – 7 pm in some locations) when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Train early morning or in the evening if it’s cooler. If you opt to train outside, do it responsibly and don’t put yourself at risk – find some shade.
Cover up: Make sure you’re fully protected when going outdoors, by putting on the factor 50! (A waterproof one is even better if you get really sweaty). If you burn yourself and attempt to work out, your body will struggle to cool itself, which increases the risk of skin cancer.
Listen to your body: It will always tell you when it needs a rest or has had enough. During hotter weather, there are chances you won’t be able to exercise at the intensity you normally would, but that’s okay. The best thing to do if you’re exercising outdoors in the heat is to reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks.
If you feel/sick – stop immediately: Sit down, rest and drink plenty of fluids (if you’re outside, get to somewhere shaded). Try and get a juicy snack, like fruit. Don’t be tempted to finish your workout. Your body and health are far more important.
Spot the symptoms of heat exhaustion:
To help protect yourself and others is to spot the symptoms of heat stroke, which include:-
Dizziness or confusion
Fast breathing or pulse
Loss of appetite and feeling sick
If you notice that someone has signs of heat stroke/exhaustion you should:
Help them to lie down in a cool place – such as a room with air conditioning or in the shade
Coll them down – such as a cool flannel, cold packs around the neck and armpits, or a cool, wet sheet
Get them to drink plenty of water
Do not give them aspirin or paracetamol – it will not help the raised temperature and may be harmful
Stay with the person until they’re feeling better. Most people should start to recover within 30 minutes
How to stay hydrated before, during and after your workout
Ensuring we are adequately hydrated when exercising is essential – it is important to not rely on thirst alone to tell us how much to drink.
Benefits of drinking enough fluid:
keeps our muscles working well
helps to prevent fatigue
replaces fluids lost through sweating.
Here are some tips to follow:
Drink at least 2 glasses of water in the 2-hour period before your workout.
Always have water with you when exercising – frequent sipping is better than gulping it all down at once
Aim for around 1 glass (roughly 250ml) for every 30 minutes of exercise.
Try and drink another glass of water in the hour following your workout.
Although fairly difficult, it is possible to drink too much water – hyponatremia can happen when we take in more fluid than we are able to get rid of, causing blood sodium levels to become diluted and drop to dangerously low levels. You would have to drink excessive amounts of fluid (in a short space of time) for this to be an issue. Always listen to your body when exercising and don’t ignore signs such as dizziness and nausea.
The sweat rate calculation can be a very accurate indicator of how much you need to drink following a strenuous workout:
Weigh yourself before exercise – ideally first thing in the morning and after going to the toilet
Weigh yourself again after exercise – also after going to the toilet
For every kilogram of body weight lost (which will be fluid loss), drink around 1-1.5litres of water.
Plain water is best for staying hydrated. Sports drinks and diluted fruit juice can be beneficial when taking part in endurance events. They will usually contain some carbohydrates as fuel as well as electrolytes to help replace those lost during longer more intense periods of exercise. As these types of drinks are sometimes costly, you could try making your own. Recipe: Add around 200ml of fruit juice or squash (not sugar-free) to 800ml of water, along with a generous pinch of sea salt.
If the taste is an important factor in helping you drink enough, diluting fruit juices or sports drinks in water is fine – especially if it means you will be keeping yourself well-hydrated.
Although other factors can influence this, a good indicator of whether you are adequately hydrated is monitoring the colour of your urine. It should ideally be a pale yellow colour, not clear.
Staying hydrated when exercising is a very important – yet too often neglected – part of ensuring we feel well and perform our best during physical activity.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Have you ever started a fitness regime and then quit? If you answered yes, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness and wellness programmes but stop when they get bored, aren’t enjoying it or don’t see the results as quickly as they’d hoped. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated.
Set goals: Start small and celebrate the little wins, but remember to make them realistic and achievable. You will lose all interest if your goals are too ambitious.
For example, if you haven’t done any exercise in a while, a small goal is to walk 10 minutes a day for five days. A bigger goal would be to talk 30 minutes a day for five days. But a longer and even bigger goal is to complete a 5k walk.
Make it fun: Pick activities that you enjoy and vary the routine to keep it interesting. Try something different if you’re not loving your current workouts. Check out swimming for relaxation or play badminton – who knows, you might just discover a ‘hidden talent’! Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be boring – you’re more likely to stick with classes or a routine if you’re having fun.
Make physical activity part of your everyday routine: Without even knowing it, you can increase your daily physical activity. Whether that is taking the stairs instead of the lift, or parking your car further away in a shopping centre/supermarket car park or even going for a walk during your break at work.
“But I work from home?” Why not stretch, walk or climb your stairs on your breaks or do some squats, lunges or even situps. If you have a dog, take them for an extra walk. Research has shown that sitting for long periods of time may negatively affect your health (even if you’re doing the recommended amount of exercise each week).
If you sit for several hours during the day (either at home or work), aim to take frequent breaks to get yourself moving, such as walking to get a glass of water (or tea/coffee). Try standing up when taking phone calls or even video meetings.
Write it down: If you have goals such as losing weight, sleeping better or boosting your energy levels…….write them down or log them somewhere (try logging your goals using the Boditrax machines). Seeing your goals on paper (or digitally) will help you to stay motivated.
Try keeping an exercise diary by recording what you did during each physical activity session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterwards.
Recording your efforts help you to track your progress and also helps you on your off days to act as a reminder – you got this!
Reward yourself: After each exercise session, regardless of what you did, take a few minutes to savour the great ‘feel-good’ feelings that come with exercising. If you really want to, you can give yourself a big treat like a pair of new trainers, a new swimsuit or training gloves.
Go easy on yourself: If you generally don’t feel like it or you’re genuinely too busy to work out, give yourself a break and have a day or two off. Go easy on yourself, you know your body better than anyone – the important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can!
If you ever feel your motivation slipping, review these tips to remind yourself of the ‘why’.
#BeExceptional and let us help you stay motivated. At Active Nottingham you have access to 6 gyms, 6 pools, 6 health suites and over 300 fitness classes. Find out more about our memberships here.
Tips for new starters
To ensure your new fitness journey is successful, here are some tips to help you find your feet (especially if it’s your first time visiting Active Nottingham!).
Find out what services are available – download the Active Nottingham app and have a general nosy around.
Click on the “book” activity sessions to see what classes you might fancy, or what time a swim session begins. Check out the “news” section to see what has been going on or learn about the 3rd party activities taking place around the different centres
Join the Active Nottingham Facebook Group Community, with a page for each leisure centre you can chat to other centre users, get advice from others – they’ve all been where you are. Joining a gym, swimming pool or fitness class can feel daunting, but the community are incredibly welcoming
Try different things until you find something you enjoy
There is no “one size fits all” programme, but try not to worry about what everyone else is doing. Try different programmes, classes and activities until you find something you truly enjoy and you’ll be motivated to stick to
Keep track of your training
Setting goals and writing them down as well as keeping track of your progress is very useful to help you to stay motivated and see how far you’ve come from where you started
Try a simply training diary or keep a record on a spreadsheet, or download one of the many apps on Google or Apple for doing this
Give the new Boditrax machines a try to help you on your fitness journey; find out what another member thought of the Boditrax machines here
Don’t worry about what others are doing:
the best tip to stay motivated is to find something that YOU truly enjoy – others at the centre may be working towards certain goals or targeting their training around their own injuries or health conditions which may not suit someone else – everyone is unique – if you are unsure, always ask a professional for advice
Build up gradually:
going from nothing to trying to train every day of the week could lead to burnout and even worse – injuries
Start slowly, for example twice a week and build up from there – consistency is by far the most important factor when it comes to achieving fitness goals – so rather stick with a sustainable plan than one that is difficult to maintain in the long run
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Mindfullness during exercise
Add mindfulness to your workout routine
Hands up if you just want to distract yourself when working out? Did you know there are so many benefits of being mindful during exercise, such as:
feeling good mentally and physically
improving your workout performance
Not being focussed can impact the sensation of a job well done following a workout. Your workouts become less effective and you begin to rush through your routine. Embracing mindful fitness can help change this, and you might get more out of your workouts than you think.
Benefits of mindfulness during exercise
Zoning out during a workout, such as listening to your favourite playlist and moving your body through an activity you don’t have to think about (such as running or walking) can be meditative, allowing your mind to roam free whilst your body does the work.
But becoming too distracted breaks the connection to what you are actually doing. There is a flow when we are ‘in the moment’ and that provides many benefits:
Better mental health
Improved physical health
Increased commitment to exercising
Increased levels of satisfaction
How to workout with mindfulness
Finish your planned workout
Have a specific goal eg. a body part or time frame to work towards.
Pay continuous attention to your body. If you’re doing cardio this could be the repetitive strike of your feet on the treadmill or when strength training, how each muscle feels as you use it.
Reflect on the positive results of working out eg. increased energy/boosted mood/better sleep.
Slow down and focus on your form and breathing.
End on a good note
Be sure to remember all the good things about the workout and how good it feels when you’re done. If you can, try and lie down at the end of the workout for relaxation – that is your chance to really feel the effects of your hard work!
Active Nottingham named as Triple Finalists at the 2022 ukactive Awards
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, are delighted to have been named by ukactive as 2022 Award Finalists after entering the awards for the first time.
They have been shortlisted in three categories – Regional Club of the Year (Harvey Hadden Sports Village), Activation Award (recognising organisations who run events to inspire and encourage people to be more active) and Physical Activity Hero Award (Charmaine Daley with This Girl Can Nottingham).
Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark, said: “I’m delighted to announce Active Nottingham has been successful in their efforts to become finalists at the ukactive Awards, in not one but three categories. This is an amazing achievement to all the team for the incredibly hard work they do, not just at our leisure centres, but within the community. I wish them the best of luck at the finals in June.”
Charmaine Daley will go head to head with other finalists in a public vote for the Physical Activity Hero Award. Charmaine has been involved in this Girl Can Nottingham since 2015 and more recently involved as the community motivator role, empowering and inspiring thousands of women to enjoy moving more and falling in love with their bodies through exercise.
Charmaine has a passion for helping those in need by dedicating her time to raising money for good causes through the power of Zumba; including the delivery of ‘Socially Distanced Street Zumba’ with This Girl Can Nottingham at the height of lockdown in Bulwell.
Voting opens on Monday 9 May and closes on 27 May, with the winner announced at the awards ceremony in Birmingham on 30 June 2022.
ukactive’s annual awards are the most prestigious within the physical activity sector; they recognise facilities, suppliers, operators, educational institutes, health practitioners and large corporations that have demonstrated exceptional standards in driving forward the physical activity agenda.
Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre.
I spotted the new Boditrax machine in the gym at Harvey Hadden before going to my Aqua Fit lesson, and thought it was the perfect time to take my scan, before my exercise session.
What is Boditrax I hear you ask?
In simple terms, it looks like a mechanical scale with hand and feet scanners as well as a touch screen. It measures 20 different metrics related to your body to tell you how healthy your body really is.
How do I use Boditrax?
It was such a simple process; in and out of the gym within 2-3 minutes, so it didn’t impact my day or workout session. As it was my first time using the machine, I needed to set up a free account (this is so you can log into the app or the website afterwards and track/view the results). So I added my details and then it told me to take my shoes and socks off and stand on the machine. You follow the pretty simple onscreen instructions and after 30-50 seconds you’re done and you can view your results on the kiosk screen or you can view them when it’s convenient for you as the results are emailed to say it’s captured the scan.
I also downloaded the free Boditrax app, this is pretty important so you can track your results.
Downloading the app
You can download the Boditrax app from the App Store or the Google Play store or via the QR code on the poster on the machine; please note, you need to set up an account via the Boditrax machine before using the app.
What would I use Boditrax for?
If like me you want to track your body weight and muscle mass you have, this is perfect for you. But it doesn’t just do that. See below what else it tracks:
Water – advises how much water you have inside and outside your muscles. In my case, my levels are shown as green so I’m maintaining a healthy balance.
Fat – shows where I have the highest/lowest fat levels, which will help to guide my workout goals to reduce the overall fat in these areas. Obviously body fat is vital to body bodily functions so it’s important to not go overboard.
Muscle – as your muscle mass increases, your energy consumption increases which accelerates your BMR (helping you to reduce excess body fat levels and lose weight in a healthy way) wording taken from the Boditrax app.
Bone – this feature indicates the amount of bone (bone mineral level, calcium or other minerals) in the body (wording from Boditrax app
BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate is the minimum level of energy your body needs when at rest to function. Increasing my muscle mass through strength training will speed up my BMR meaning I will be burning more calories at rest than a person with a low BMR. Time to hit the gym 😊
Visceral fat rating – this one was quite important to me as I wanted to know how much internal stomach fat I have, especially the amount of fat around the muscles in this area. My rating was on the healthy range indicated by the green dots (between 1 – 12), so was pleasantly pleased with this but I know I want to improve on this as excess visceral fat is associated to type 2 diabetes.
Metabolic age – Basically calculates my BMR and the average age with that type of metabolism. So if your metabolic age is higher than your actual age (like mine :D) then it’s an indication you need to improve your metabolic rate.
Muscle score – Calculates the amount of muscle in an individual body and gives you a score. The higher the score the higher the muscle content in your body (I need to improve mine but I’m happy with it as I’ve not done a huge amount of exercise lately). Average score is 12.
Goals – for me I’m tracking my muscle mass and body weight – but you can track up to 6 goals if you wish.
How often should I use Boditrax?
Boditrax recommends using the machine no more than once a week and this is the really important bit – scan yourself prior to exercising, not after and make sure you take your shoes and socks off to get the most accurate reading possible.
I loved the information available from the quick scan and can now track my progress and will visibly see the results and know what to target my workouts to. Definitely recommend using the Boditrax machine.
Check in with next month to see how I’m doing with my goals, eek!
***Boditrax machines are available for use at Harvey Hadden Sports Village. It is also available on a roadshow at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre for 3 months, where it will then move to another Active Nottingham leisure centre. Refer to the Boditrax website page for details of when it’ll move next!***
Why do I need swimming goggles?
Swimming goggles are specially designed to allow you to see underwater and to protect the eyes from the chemicals in the water, such as chlorine. Goggles are watertight (if you’ve fitted them correctly) by making an air pocket around the eye and stopping water from getting inside and irrtating the eyes when swimming.
What are the benefits for wearing goggles you ask?
Protection – when swimming without goggles, eyes may look red and itchy; which are caused by chemicals within the water designed to keep the pool clean and sanitary. Chlorine is not good for our delicate eyes and can harm them, so it’s best to wear swimming goggles for protection and to prevent them from drying out.
“What if I wear glasses?” Prescription swimming goggles are available for those who need them – best to speak to your optician about these.
Vision – swimming goggles have a watertight design helping us to open our eyes underwater, which also gives us water confidence as we can see what we’re doing (especially if you are learning to swim so you can avoid a rogue foot or hand).
It’s fun! – Wearing goggles and swimming underwater provides confidence and also makes swimming a lot more fun.
Children and goggles
If your little one hasn’t worn goggles before, get them to try them on at home for the first time as it’s a familiar environment for them. If you can, try to get them to wear them in the bath or the shower, that’ll help them to realise goggles keep the water out of their eyes. Before you know it, they’ll be dunking their head underwater the next time you’re in the pool!
If you or your little one is learning to swim, Nottingham Swim School students are encouraged to wear swimming goggles when having their lessons (or if you’re taking part in lap or competitive swimming it’s just a good idea).
Don’t delay, pick up some goggles today!
This Girl Can – Samiah’s Story
Introducing – Samiah Haleem
Samiah Haleem is an outstanding ambassador of ‘This Girl Can’ and through the campaign, she has become a pioneering leader in increasing growth and participation in Women & Girls Cricket in The Renewal Trust area in Nottingham.
With the support of This Girl Can Nottingham and The Renewal Trust, Samiah organised a Women’s Cricket softball festival in St Ann’s and was able to attract a total of 85 attendees.
Through weeks of organising and recruiting as many women as she could, Samiah’s hard work paid off. She is now exploring how we can keep these women active.
I am a British Afro-Asian (Indian-Kenyan-Pakistani with a combination of Sikh Punjabi and Turkish ancestry!) Although multi-heritage, now of Islamic faith. I was prematurely born as my mother went for a routine check whilst my father went off to play his cricket match!
My first cricket experience: My father Abdul Haleem Chaudhri and his brother Salahudin Chaudhri strived and formed a cricket club for Asian men. They were key founders/presidents of the Asian Cricket Club in the London borough of Waltham Forest in the early 1970s. Their brother Shakil Chaudhri and cousin Khalid Chaudhri later progressed to captain the team for many years playing in Essex cup leagues and internationally.
Passion for cricket
I used to watch hours and days of test cricket matches with my dad when I was young. With the favourite time being World Cup cricket. I understood patterns and band and pretty much became the scoring pundit much to everyone’s annoyance when it was going against us.
A shift in focus at college and university took me away from physical sports with very little free time. The thrill and love for watching T20 developed again and was enjoyed immensely through multiple pregnancies.
Dream big/city programmer activator project
I had heard Ian Dipaola the participation and growth officer on RadioDawn talk about walking cricket, disability cricket and how inclusive cricket is in Nottinghamshire County.
I had then seen an Allstars activator with the children at Trentbridge from the audience in May 2019. I was inspired by seeing an active sporty hijabi participating in cricket in a modest-looking way. As the law of attraction would have it I met Asma Ajaz-Ali two months later face to face via the Muslim community Organisation callout for volunteers.
Ironically at a time when I was experiencing aversion around my hidden disabilities/altered abilities (and not able to make chapattis due to my Asthma), I was lucky to meet all three of my local City Programmes Executives and to get training from Shilly Pancholi and Hina Mistry, who were all really accepting, and encouraging my involvement in the Allstars programme.
They gave me the validation I didn’t even realise I sought at the time. I was invited to a crikitty party at Edgbaston cricket ground, it was fun and liberating being part of the Desi women programme.
I love to skill-share and have run creative education and learning workshops for years. When I got bored of my delivery (pun intended) I became a sublime science presenter and did science parties for children. I was known as ‘Artist Aunty’. They now call me’ cricketwaliaunty’.
I naturally morphed and dived into the deep end and co-led the Allstar sessions in Nov 2019.They were split into 4 weeks of female delivery and 4 weeks of male delivery. Lots of women told me they felt reassured leaving their daughters at a female-led session. My input felt needed. My children helped with setting up and clearing the sessions and picking up the balls for me. Team effort!
I went on to start the Youth Mental Health First Aid Course and attained an ECB level 1 foundation course in coaching in January 2020. I joined a women’s softball session for my own re-development and led a session when the coach could not make it.
Then we were hit with the lockdown. I managed to join the Chai and chat monthly zoom sessions and felt connected. I was also given access to an empowerment course and Microsoft workshops. I requested to shadow the softball sessions at my children’s local cricket club Cavaliers & Carrington where the respected coaches were really welcoming.
As a result of my presence, parents felt confident leaving their girls at the sessions. I am looking forward to having more cricketing experiences with my daughters as well as my son’s IA.
I have become a self-appointed calling card to the programme and have shared the benefits with other ladies as I believe one should “Love for others what you love for yourself” sunnah of prophet Muhammad saw pbuh.
I have invited multi-faith groups from my community to have access to the Allstars and Dynamos programme. I am now a recognised community champion in Nottingham City for the Dream Big Desi Women Programme.
We’ve recently done allstars and Dynamos training for the new cohort, and supported a Dynamos session at a school with special guests – Trent Rockets players Katherine Brunt and Abbie Freeborn. The programme has allowed this Desi woman to Dream Big and attend a soft ball tournament at Lord’s! It was exhilarating! I have developed new contacts and shared big moments with the network. It’s been amazing!
In the stars
My connection with cricket is a connection with my memory of my father, he is right there with me every time I do the Abdul Haleem Chaudhri-esque hypnotic mantra ‘Look at the ball. Look at the ball. Keep your eyes on the ball. Look at the ball…’
Love you Dad – hope to play cricket with you when we meet in heavenIA🤲🏼🙏🏼🏏
The Oye family of Clifton discover a new talent for Table Tennis!
Since lockdown was announced in March 2020 the reality for many families has been a lot more time at home and a lot less opportunity to be active. For the Oye family of Clifton, with five energetic children now at home with Mum & Dad, the last few months have been difficult to stay active!
“Get Out Get Active Nottingham has been working with Table Tennis England’s “Ping” project to distribute 300 Table Tennis Activity at Home kits across Nottingham City and having received theirs, the Oye family turned their kitchen table into a table tennis table and were soon challenging each other to tournaments!
Table Tennis was a breath of fresh air to the family as it was a fun, engaging activity that everyone could enjoy whether they’d tried it before or not. For Mum Agnes, it was a relief to have something that could entertain the kids, and get them moving more, in the safety of their own home, on the kitchen table, no less!
It wasn’t just the kids having fun either, even Mum, who has never tried table tennis before, had a go, making it a great way to bring some more family time into the home.
Table tennis allows people of all ages and abilities to move more, and smile more. The Partnership between Get Out Get Active Nottingham and Table Tennis England has been fantastic, providing an opportunity to engage families in physical activity in the comfort of their own homes, particularly during this challenging climate.|
We hope the story of the Oye family inspires others to pick up a bat and have a go!
We recently spoke with Maureen Watts about her experience returning to the Leisure centres and a ‘new normal’.
Maureen who is in her 70’s, has four children, eight grandchildren, one of which had a muted celebration of their 21st birthday in October, and seven great-grandchildren. Until 2016 she was working as a nurse, so she is fully aware of what health and fitness mean for the body and mind.
When lockdown first began, one of her sons was collecting and delivering food for her. As restrictions continued, she decided she would cautiously venture out to the shops. Fortunately, she is within walking distance of supermarkets, so was able to avoid taking public transport.
Like most people, she had apprehensions about returning to a ‘new normal’ and what that looks like.
Similar to many people, she was doing exercise at home. She was following a Zumba DVD, using resistance bands, and doing some body weight exercises, but she soon realised that she was missing the camaraderie of the classes and the motivation from instructors and other participants. When she heard from a friend that Ken Martin Leisure Centre was reopening, she was excited. When her letter and a text message informing her that the leisure centres were reopening arrived, she couldn’t wait to get back to the classes that she deeply missed.
A self-confessed technophobe, her son downloaded the Active Nottingham app for her, where she now books classes in advance.
As with her cautiousness about going to the shops, she also had some nervousness about returning to Ken Martin Leisure Centre. The first change that she noticed was that, beforethe class starts, people are asked to wait outside and keep 2m distance from each other. ‘You are then called into the class where there is hand gel all over the facilities. Signage indicates to keep left at all times in the building, toilets are one at a time, come dressed ready for your session and bring your own water’.
She says the staff couldn’t be any more helpful with explaining things, and remarked “They are forever cleaning and there is a protective screen behind reception.
For the class itself, you have a boxed off area, which prevents you getting within 2m of each other, this has meant a reduction in the size of the class to 14. You are then asked to wipe down your mat after the session”.
Maureen has missed her classes so much, not just for keeping fit but also the social side. She enjoyed mixing with other participants of the classes, just as much as with instructors themselves. She has a great relationship with the instructors, which include Michelle, Vivien, Chantelle, Sharon, Sarah, and Amanda. She attends on average twice a day and is regularly asked advice from other people. She likes that the instructors always adapt classes to people’s needs and give different levels of each exercise. Her favourite classes are Zumba, Body Conditioning and Aerobics.Right now, due to restrictions, no equipment is allowed to be used so classes are based around bodyweight exercises.
She used to have coffee and a catch up with other participants after classes, which she can’t wait to in the future.She still finds time to have a (socially distanced) laugh when waiting for classes to start and maybe too much of a laugh during classes.
Once we reopen, be sure to pop down to Ken Martin Leisure Centre and our other centres to have as much Covid-secure fun as Maureen is having!
Since we spoke with Maureen, tier 3 and then lockdown was announced. We caught up with her on the eve of the second lockdown to gather her thoughts and what she was planning to do to keep active.
As Nottingham entered tier 3, the restrictions meant that indoor exercise classes were no longer permitted. Wanting to get one last session, she made sure she attended her Zumba class on Thursday before saying ‘see you soon’ and not ‘goodbye’. Two days later we found out that there was a national lockdown on the horizon and this sprung Maureen to action.
As Maureen doesn’t have access to the internet, she has recently refreshed her Zumba DVD selection; buying 3 for £1. Along with this, she is a keen gardener and likes to take long walks. As a believer in “healthy mind – healthy body”, she also keeps up with a regular crossword and word search to keep her busy.
Claire Henson Blog – Stay Safe, Stay Active, Start Small
I also live with a long-term anxiety condition which I manage day-to-day. Back in 2015, I had a relapse in my long term anxiety condition, which made leaving my home very difficult. Some days, it took all my strength to walk to the car to be able to go to work, and that did not leave me very productive for the rest of the day! I knew that activity and exercise were good for me and that it would ease the symptoms of my mental ill-health. But the anxious voice in my head was a lot louder when telling me that the outside was scary and there was no point in even trying.
Towards the end of 2015, I became more and more unwell, with long-term pain, muscle stiffness and overwhelming fatigue. I was referred to the hospital and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was given guidance on how to manage my condition and one of the overwhelming pieces of advice was to do more activity. I knew I had to listen to the doctors, but I also still had the anxious voice.
So I made a compromise. I walked to the post box and back. It was about 500 yards and I started doing it once a day. Then I walked to the church just next to the postbox and then onto the bench. Every week, I added a small chunk onto my walk and it didn’t feel unmanageable, even the anxious voice quietened down. I began a circuit each evening, I simply did three or four rounds of the circuit.
This simple activity allowed me to rebuild my life. It wasn’t instant, there wasn’t a miracle cure. I still live with a long term anxiety condition that I manage each day. But I do experience the benefits of what activity can bring to my life and how it helps me to manage my anxiety.
The reason I am talking about this today is that I am finding myself in a very similar situation as we live in the current lockdown situation. I’ve found exercising very difficult due to fear and anxiety. So I wanted to take some time to talk about getting active whilst living with a mental health condition and whilst living in lockdown.
Today, I went for a small walk.
It took some bargaining with the anxious voice, but I felt able to get up a little earlier and take a few steps outside. It wasn’t about distance or the number of steps I completed, it was about breathing and feeling the sunshine. It was about letting my whole body know that whilst these are extremely frightening times, these few small steps can benefit our mental wellbeing and help us to get through this time.
There is lots of information out there currently about how we can get active in our homes, which is fantastic. But it can also be overwhelming, so I hope this post, and future ones, will let you know you are not alone.”
Sandie checks out Wellbeats Customer Choice
I spotted the “BOOK VIRTUAL” button on the app a while ago and wondered what a Wellbeats Customer Choice class was, so last week I booked to find out and to be honest, it’s exactly what it says on the tin!
You simply book a class, and when you get in the studio space, you choose from a massive range of different digital workouts, via the touch screen on the wall, and the fitness class plays out on the big screen in front of you. Simple!
There are so many classes including core strengthening, dance, meditation, yoga, you name it!
If there are a few people booked in the session you do need to decide between yourselves which class you’re going to play on screen, but there are lots of short routines, so you could do more than one in the session, which would please everyone!
I love the idea of getting together with some friends and having a bit of giggle too!
The videos are well-produced and offer both high and low-impact moves, so you don’t need to worry about it being too difficult.
You can bring your own equipment if you like, such as weights or a mat, but these are available at the centre.
Sessions are free as part of my Active Nottingham monthly membership, but can also be booked as a “pay as you go” customer.
To see what sessions are on and have a go yourself look for the blue “BOOK VIRTUAL” button on the app, book online or call the Customer Contact Centre on 0115 8761600.
Hope you’re all keeping safe and well. Let me introduce myself: my name is Claire and I’m a Mental Health First Aid England Instructor, founder of the Mind Map project and the Anxious Exercise Club and programme lead for the Tricky to Talk programme at Nottingham Forest Community Trust.
I also live with a long-term anxiety condition, which I manage day to day. Back in 2015, I had a relapse, which made leaving my home very difficult. Some days, it took all my strength just to walk to the car to go to work – and that didn’t leave me very productive for the rest of the day! I knew that activity and exercise was good for me and that it would ease the symptoms of my mental ill health. But the anxious voice in my head was a lot louder, telling me the outside was scary and there was no point in even trying…
Towards the end of 2015, I became more and more unwell, with long term pain, muscle stiffness and overwhelming fatigue. I was referred to the hospital and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was given guidance on how to manage my condition and one of the overwhelming pieces of advice was to do more activity. I knew I had to listen to the doctors, but I also still had the anxious voice.
So, I made a compromise. I walked to the post box and back.
It was about 500 yards and I started doing it once a day. Then I walked to the church, just next to the post box, and then on to the bench. Every week, I added a small chunk onto my walk, and it didn’t feel unmanageable. Even the anxious voice quietened down. I began a circuit each evening, I simply did three or four rounds of the circuit.
This simple activity allowed me to rebuild my life. It wasn’t instant, there wasn’t a miracle cure. I still live with a long-term anxiety condition, which I manage each day. But I do experience the benefits activity can bring to my life and how it helps me to manage my anxiety.
The reason I’m writing about this today is because I’m finding myself in a very similar situation as we live in the current lockdown situation. I’ve found exercising very difficult due to fear and anxiety. So, I wanted to take some time to talk about getting active while living with a mental health condition and while living in lockdown.
Today, I went for a small walk.
It took some bargaining with the anxious voice, but I felt able to get up a little earlier and take a few steps outside. It wasn’t about distance or the amount of steps I completed; it was about breathing and feeling the sunshine.
It was about letting my whole body know that while these are extremely frightening times, these few small steps can benefit our mental wellbeing and help us to get through it.
There’s lots of information out there currently about how we can get active in our homes, which is fantastic, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. I hope this post, and future ones, will let you know you are not alone.
Looking for more inspiration?
We’ve got all sorts to help keep you moving while our leisure centres are closed.
Jayne, a regular at Southglade Leisure Centre, recently completed a thirty-length swim in aid of the Stroke Association – a feat that few healthy individuals could complete. Yet, Jayne recently suffered a life-changing stroke, leaving her with limited mobility and a long road to recovery. Enter the Swim for Health sessions, where Jenna (one of our swimming instructors) worked closely with Jayne to help in her rehabilitation – working to regain her strength as well as independence.
I arrived at Southglade on November 11th 2019 to interview Jayne. The atmosphere in the Leisure Centre was beautiful – friends and family had gathered together in support. They cheered and clapped as Jayne tackled length after length, and by the final lap, there were definitely a few watery eyes.
After the swim there were posters and banners carefully hung on the walls, and there were biscuits and coffee cups placed upon tables. People were smiling and laughing – excitedly chattering about how well Jayne had done. You could almost smell the sheer adoration and pride in the air. Sally, one of Jayne’s physiotherapists, smiled as she told me, “Swimming has been a game-changer for Jayne. After her stroke she initially found walking very difficult. She even found sitting up very difficult – she was having to be hoisted – so what she’s achieved is incredible. She lacks confidence in walking on dry land, but in the water, she says she feels free. Swimming has had huge benefits for her confidence, generally. And she’s able to get fit and exercise in water in a way that she can’t on land.”
You could tell that Jayne’s swimming instructor, Jenna, was extremely fond of her too. They would poke fun at each other and make jokes in a way that reminded me of a mother-daughter relationship. When I spoke to Jenna, she couldn’t sing Jayne’s praises enough:
“When we first met her, she couldn’t hold herself in the water – she needed three people to support her body and to keep her steady so that her face wasn’t going under. But she’s made an amazing improvement – she is fantastic. She’s done thirty-one lengths today! She did about three in her first session. It’s great. It’s great to see people grow and change and get help in recovering. Jayne’s part of the family now.”
Jenna then went on to say the same as Sally – that swimming has been paramount for Jayne and that it makes her feel free. She started laughing and also told me that Jayne enjoys a natter in the sauna with fellow Southglade-goers after her sessions.
Jayne’s husband Clive was around for moral support, too. You could clearly see his adoration for her and it was clear that Jayne’s rehabilitation journey had been a team effort between her, Clive and the lovely staff at Southglade.
When interviewing Jayne herself, it was heart-warming to see her talk about the centre with such joy. Read her interview below:
What would you say to anyone else who has had a major health problem? What would be your encouraging words?
Swimming! Try it! Have a goal and do it! It helps – my pain’s gone and my heavy body is gone. It makes me feel fabulous and free.
What made you do the sponsored swim today?
I wanted to help people raise money to help the people who helped me.
When you saw everyone here today, how did you feel?
Now that you’ve finished the swim, how do you feel?
Good… amazing! It was hard work though! I did thirty-one lengths and the maximum amount I’ve done before is sixteen.
A to Z of Nottingham Swim School
Ever wondered why swimming is regarded as one of the most beneficial activities for young people?
Look no further than our A–Z of Nottingham Swim School to understand why.
Active – Children that are active are happier, healthier and more able to learn. Increased activity is essential for a child’s development. Butterfly stroke – They’ll learn the skills to swim this more complicated of strokes during their lessons. Competitiveness – Swimming is great for developing positive competitiveness as each child strives to achieve the next badge or move through the stages. If they join a swimming club, they’ll experience competitive teamwork too. Diving – Knowing how to safely launch yourself headfirst into water is a skill taught during swimming lessons. Energy – Swimming builds your child’s muscles and lung capacity, giving them more energy to achieve. Free stuff – All Nottingham Swim School members receive free access to all of our public swim sessions across the city! They also get a swim hat on joining and at each new stage reached too!
Graduation – As each skill is perfected your child will graduate, receiving badges, medals and certificates of achievement. Health – Swimming is great for your child’s heart and circulation, providing natural, low-impact resistance to build muscle and release those happy endorphins. Intelligence – Holding your breath can reportedly increase intelligence levels as swimming is the best exercise for building lung capacity, which improves the ability to take in more information. Joints – The natural support and resistance provided by water means swimming is a fantastic activity for developing strong joints. Kick – Each swim stroke has a different style of kick, and your child will master them all by the time they reach Stages 8-10 of our Swim School. Lifesaving – Being able to swim is a real life saver and after all the key skills have been achieved your child can train to become a rookie lifeguard too. Motivation – Motivational instructors will ensure your child gets the best from their weekly lessons. No equipment necessary – Apart from a swimsuit, there’s no expensive equipment needed to swim.
Open to all – Some of our pools offer specialist sessions for children with a disability or additional needs. Some also host lessons for older children and adults. Portal – With our Swim School portal you can track your child’s progress and move class when they’re ready. Quality time – Whether you’re in a pool or by the seaside, swimming is a great opportunity for parents and children to bond, sharing quality time in otherwise busy lives. Related sports – Being able to swim gives opportunities to try other sports like water polo, surfing, competitive diving or even triathlon. Safety – Safety is an essential part of learning to swim and your child learns to be aware of hazards in and around water. Training – To become a competent or advanced swimmer, training is essential, providing your child with a routine to follow that will set them up for life. Underwater skills – Between stages 8 and 10 children learn underwater skills like synchronised swimming. Vitality – Swimming’s benefits for physical and mental well-being mean your child with have more vitality and vigour. Weight – Water is around 800 times denser than air, so your child will burn more calories, keeping your child at a healthy weight. X-Factor – Swimming is such a great sport for health, well-being, social skills and mental attitude, your child will develop the X-Factor to help in all aspects of their life. Year-round activity – Come rain or shine, winter or spring, swimming can be enjoyed at any time. Zzz – Swimming uses huge amounts of energy, so your child will sleep better after exercising.
Meet Glyn: “Swimming makes me determined to do more”
From doing no exercise to attending multiple Swim for Health sessions a week, Glyn has come a long way in a short space of time!
Glyn, who has Cerebral Palsy and Minor Autism and uses a wheelchair, has seen a remarkable improvement in his mobility and strength as well as a vast improvement in his mental health. He enjoys being able to get out of the house while doing something different.
Since finding out about Swim for Health, Glyn, aged 25 from Sherwood, has started swimming multiple times a week at different Swim for Health sessions.
“I started swimming mid-late summer 2018 after Dad & Rikki realised that there were Swim for Health sessions that would be great for me. I went from no swimming, to attending one session a week, to swimming constantly.
Obviously I really enjoy getting my body working. The physical benefits are really important but so are the benefits to my own well-being. I moan if we’re late for swimming or if life gets in the way of going! The sessions get me out of the house and doing something different.
I can now walk in and out of the pool rather than using the hoist. I’m also able to walk (aided, slightly) to and from the car, which I wasn’t able to do before! I’ve started sleeping better too, which gives me loads more energy! I have more strength in my upper and lower body which definitely makes doing things easier.
During the session I feel really happy and it makes me feel strong knowing that I’m actually able to do it. I get really stressed if I can’t come – swimming makes me determined to do more!
Having support is very important; swimming wouldn’t have been possible without my family to bring me here and support me in the pool.
The Poolside Helpers are also really important to me. Without Sharon I would never have reached 1,000m and without Ruth I would have never achieved my 1,500m. I would say the pool helpers are all very considerate and helpful, and super friendly and without them I wouldn’t have achieved what I’ve achieved!
To other disabled people who are thinking about being more active and taking up some form of exercise/sport but are not sure, I would say think about what you want to do first and just do it to the best of your ability. Find something you enjoy and take it at your own pace!”
To take a look at the Swim for Health Sessions and decide whether it’s for you, click to view the leaflet below.
Allyson’s Story: “I wanted to stay active and help others”
“I contracted Meningococcal in 2014 and was really poorly, then I got sepsis and lost my legs and fingers. In the hospital rehab centre I went to the gym and did exercises which helped strengthen my muscles but when I was discharged from hospital I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to stay active and help others, so I now work as a volunteer at the Mobility Centre City Hospital and as an Activity Advisor for Limbpower.
“I completed a Nordic walking course at Clifton Campus and am one of only four amputees who have done it in the country. It’s great for core strength and the tops of your legs and arms. It’s not difficult and is quite relaxing.
“I run a little coffee morning support group where other amputees meet and I’ve also welcomed people affected by other illnesses such as cancer, strokes and diabetes. I help lead the way and share as much information as possible about what’s available in the area. I explain to them it’s about doing what you can do. A lot of people live on their own, so it’s a social thing too.
“One member of the group, Gary hadn’t swum for 30 years so we took him and some other who wanted to try swimming to Djanogly Leisure Centre – he loves it and wants to try the gym now.”
Allyson and Gary feature in the It’s For Me campaign trailer, which is aimed at showcasing the accessible facilities at the City Council’s Leisure Centres.
Stand up to mental illnesses
Jo set up the Kickback Club after having first hand experience of living with a mental illness.
I was admitted into hospital for depression in 2016. Yet, when I was discharged, I actually felt more unwell due to the trauma of being hospitalised. That was my first episode of mental illness. I found conversations and being around others difficult as the only topic on my mind was my illness and the medication I was taking. But I missed people. I still wanted to hang out but not have to say or do anything.
It all started when I asked the owner of the café on Haydn Road if he would be interested in me starting a club and he said yes! The first session was just me and my friends. Then I created a flyer and other people started coming along. Three years later we have a stable group, some people have come and gone.
For those who want to, we now do a walk at the beginning of the night which has brought more people to the club. We also do jigsaw puzzles, play games and have colouring exercises.
I have had contact with a number of mental health services, from inpatient and crisis teams, to step four counselling and charity support.
I personally found OT support in my return to work – and counselling from local charity Harmless – invaluable. Harmless helped above all others, allowing me to learn to cope with distressing intrusive thoughts, helping me to develop an understanding of my experiences, giving me coping skills and teaching me self-compassion.
As well as supporting others, the Kickback Club benefits me personally; it gets me out of the house, it makes me feel like I am doing something and it maintains a social network that might have otherwise dropped off. It has opened up new social connections and being responsible for the group keeps me going!
It’s opened up a dialogue with other people who have had similar experiences. It really helps when there is understanding and empathy, you can form an instant bond.
The Facebook page @RecoveryCrew advertises Kickback Club, and shares other local groups and activities, useful articles, and creative approaches to developing dialogue about mental illness, including cartoons, podcasts and poetry.
The club is supported by a local textile artist, Dawn Abey, who donates part of the proceeds from her “kit bags”, which are self-care bags that are available on Etsy and in Green Emporium on Haydn road.
The group’s logo and profile picture were created by local artist Katie Abey (mother and daughter team) who also encourage conversations around mental health on social media.
The Kickback Club is described as a club for people who are struggling with their mental health in Sherwood, Nottingham. Friends are welcome and it’s a safe space to relax, write, doodle, play games or just be. They meet on the first Monday of every month at 7.30pm – 8.30pm in Divine Coffee House, Haydn Road, Sherwood. Meet outside at 6.30pm for a walk (if you want to).
Life begins at 40 for Tony
From living in a tent in the woods to being employed by the City Council as a Fitness Advisor, life really does begin at 40 for Tony!
Tony who has been profoundly deaf since the age of seven, was referred to Nottingham Community Housing Association through the Deaf Society two years ago. His Support Worker Pete explains, “Through no fault of his own, Tony found himself living rough after being kicked out of his shared housing by his housemates. Pete worked alongside Tony to make sure he was receiving the right support and ended up getting sole tenancy of the property. “It meant I could see my daughter again”, says Tony.
Although Tony is no stranger to a gym, having trained on and off throughout his life; the experience of homelessness left him feeling defeated.
“When the opportunity came up to access the leisure facilities in a free three month trial, it was like a light bulb moment for me. I suffer from anxiety when I’m out and about so I started to use the sauna to wind down or would let off some steam in the gym where I’m surrounded by my medication – my dumbells!
“My dad was diagnosed with Cancer and I lost him in October. I’ve learnt how to talk about my feelings and share my own experiences of mental health disorders and cancer with others – so I’ve also gained some counselling skills too!
“I trained to become an instructor a while ago but missed out on a qualification by a couple of points. When the Instructability course was mentioned to me, it seemed like another chance and meant I could transform my troubles from grief into drive.
Tony admits it was difficult to go back to a learning environment when he started training at Clifton Leisure Centre but found it helped his mental health and built his confidence. “Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations helps you to grow mentally, which is just as important as physical fitness.
“I had a great tutor who waited for me to write up my notes and gave me visual handouts to help with the learning process so it was a bit of a blessing.
“After I finished my training I had a three month placement as a volunteer but there was no guarantee of a job at the end of the 12 weeks, so I could have stopped, but I continued to volunteer.
“I’m on the payroll now but I still keep my voluntary shifts – I’m paid spiritually for that!”
“The best thing about it is I can go up to and talk to anyone now, that wouldn’t have happened before. I’ve got disabled clients being referred to me. Being able to relate to and help others – it makes everything I’ve been through all worth it.”
Tony is also having a huge positive impact on others. When the Instructability scheme reopened, he referred people to it who he thought would also benefit. “Rob doesn’t like new environments and would have panic attacks”, Tony explains, “so I would help diffuse situations when I realised he was about to have an attack by taking him outside and getting him to breathe to open up his airways.”
He is also getting some sign-ups from patients being discharged from Highbury Hospital. “One of the guys I’ve been helping is thinking about becoming a Personal Trainer.”
Tony cites the support he’s received from the team at Ken Martin as being a key part of his success.
“The team have been really understanding and have allowed me to swap shifts when I’ve needed to because of my mental health and were really flexible in allowing me to complete my 1-2-1 in house qualification.
“It’s very difficult to see an opportunity when you are depressed or get anxious,” says Tony. “But there’s lots of things you can do. Talk to people around you, you might find someone in a similar boat. Walking can help by giving you thinking space. Oh and anyone with a dog, it’s like a gym on legs!
“Finding a gym buddy will help motivate you but group activities is another option worth trying. Classes get your endorphins going and you push yourself a bit harder. I think routine is important, but don’t beat yourself up. Plus, sometimes it’s just about coming along, just being here is an achievement.
“People can have a negative view of the gym but Ken Martin and other council leisure centres are so friendly. We even adjust the music to make sure we cater for different groups depending on the time of day.”
Tony added, “For some it’s a social experience, others it’s a lifestyle choice. Whatever the reason, it’s important to look after your heart and general well-being and just be happy.”
Jack’s experience with our Visually Impaired Tennis sessions
“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!”
Having successfully completed a Level 1 Swimming Teacher Certificate as part of theInstructAbilityproject, 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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
“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.
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.
…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 Thighs, Body Attack, Fight 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.
“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.
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.