Get Moving this National Fitness Day

At Xercise4Less Gyms every day is fitness day, but this Wednesday, the 25th of September 2019, is particularly special. It’s National Fitness Day! Last year more than four million people took part in what is the largest physical activity celebration in the country. This is such a positive initiative and highlights the important role exercise plays in making all our lives healthier and happier. We say a big yes to that!

A whole 24 hours of fun exercise is increasingly important for the country as the UK population is lagging behind with its levels of physical activity as the sedentary attractions of our phones and tablets take over. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has even ranked the UK 123rd out of 168 nations for poor physical activity. That lack of regular exercise has been strongly linked to many preventable diseases like type-2 diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. Of course, exercising has a huge additional benefit on our mental health as well so encouraging more people to be more active in their daily lives is of immense help to all of us.

So, what are you going to do on the 25th of September? Here are five fun ways to mark National Fitness Day 2019.

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1: Take Up a Free Gym Pass

If you’re not already a member of Xercise4Less, why not take us up on our offer of a free gym pass? Emulate the whole country and get in a fitness session at your local gym with one of our unlimited free gym passes for 1, 3, or 5 days. Experience everything our gyms have to offer with no strings and without restriction. You can lift weights, run on the treadmill, take a spin class or fit in some Pilates. Whatever exercise you fancy on National Fitness Day is up to you! Just fill in the online form here and we’ll send you your pass straight away. It’s that simple. We look forward to seeing you working hard at your nearest Xercise4Less gym on 25 September.

2: Cycle Around the World in a Gym Near You

National Fitness Day is about trying something new and what could be more novel than some virtual cycling? Pick a cycling route that you’ve always wanted to attempt, plug in the co-ordinates on the stationary bike and start pedalling! Ride off into the sunset as you ride virtually in exciting and exotic destinations around the world. No more staring at the wall as you cycle in the gym, just make sure to pay attention to your virtual bike instructors so you don’t miss anything on your cycling journey.

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3: Take Advantage of Our Free 1-2-1 Fitness Session

If you’re just joined Xercise4Less Gyms, National Fitness Day is the ideal time to take advantage of our free one-to-one personal training sessions. Sit down with experienced PTs and create your own fitness programme to build muscle, lose weight or maintain your fitness. In your free 1-2-1 personal training session we’ll advise you on the best exercises and workouts for reaching your individual goals as quickly and as effectively as possible. Map out your fitness future on National Fitness Day 2019.

4: Sign Up to a New Group Exercise Class

Time for a change? Use National Fitness Day as a jumping off point for a new exercise regime. All routines get a bit stale after a while and then it’s easy to fall off the workout wagon. Keep your fitness fresh with some new group exercise classes. As part of your inclusive gym membership you can enjoy as many free fitness classes as your knees can take! Choose from energising classes like Core4FiiT, the famous Les Mills BodyAttack or Zumba and Yoga. We offer an amazing variety of fitness sessions every week, all easily bookable online or via our mobile app.

5: Change Fitness for Good with a Body Transformation Camp

What better day to change your attitude to exercise than National Fitness Day 2019? Sign up for an Xercise4Less Body Transformation Camp and see incredible results after only 8 weeks. We give you the right mental tools and the latest fitness techniques to start transforming your body. You get the latest nutrition and exercise information including our superb nutrition app and support and advice from our expert Personal Trainers. Get fitter than you’ve ever been with a complete body transformation.

A Fitness Journey Begins with One Step

National Fitness Day isn’t of course just about one day. The aim is for you to commit to exercise for life. And an Xercise4Less gym is the perfect location to step out on your fitness journey. With no joining fee and 50% off your first month, this is the best time to join the nation and start getting fit.

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NEW Les Mills – August 2019

FEEL IT ALL speaks to all the notion that every one of the LES MILLS group fitness programs makes us feel something different. It’s the feeling strong in BODYPUMP, feeling fierce in BODYCOMBAT, or calm and renewed in BODYBALANCE. It’s how we feel ahead of a workout, when we’re in the depth of the workout and the reward in achieving it – it’s what keeps us coming back for more. 

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BODYPUMP – This feels strong. This feels good. This is how it feels to change with every rep. To lift your own bar higher. 

BODYCOMBAT – This is where your first comes alive. Where you feel power in every punch and change in every kick.  Where you feel doubt fall away. 

BODYATTACK – How does it feel to mix adrenaline and energy? To feel connect? To move as one? This is how you find out. Where is where you #feelitall

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National Fitness Day 2019 – Abbie Marshall

 The Importance of Exercising

National Fitness Day is the perfect excuse to get back in the gym, try a new exercise class or just get off the sofa and on your feet for some physical activity. On Wednesday 25th September 2019, you can get involved in all sorts of fun events that will get you moving and that highlight just why exercise is so important for everyone. Not that we need an excuse to work out at Xercise4Less!

As part of our National Fitness Day celebrations, we wanted to focus on one of our members from Xercise4Less Sheffield. Let’s turn the spotlight onto Abbie Marshall to see just why exercise plays a vital role in her life.

 Why Working Out is Good for You

Abbie Marshall strength trains regularly at the Xercise4Less Sheffield gym and fitness has become increasingly important in her daily routine. She is adamant that “fitness is so beneficial for both physical and mental health”. That’s why Abbie has been active from childhood “and weight lifting was the next thing for me.” As she points out, “not many sports continue to adulthood, so finding something which I can do lifelong was important”.

So, having started weight training in 2015 in her second year of university, what was the initial spark for getting into free weights? “I was setting up some strength training for one of the university teams which I ran. I had the opportunity to join in and then found out I could deadlift quite well.” That was only the start for Abbie though. “I continued to strength train and learnt how to Olympic lift too.” Abbie enjoys weight sessions because she “rarely lacks the motivation to train” but it wasn’t always the case. She’d been going to the gym and “doing just cardio bits and wasn’t motivated”. Weightlifting has transformed that attitude to fitness though. Since then hardly a day passes by that she’s not working out at her local gym in Sheffield and that includes National Fitness Day!

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A Lifetime Journey

Abbie is on a lifelong fitness journey and she continually remarks on how working out has helped her in her general day to day life. Exercise has become a vital part of her routine, making her “feel more confident and better” about herself. Abbie also knows that physical activity has a really positive effect on mental health when you’re feeling down or stressed. “When I have a bad day, I know that an hour or two in the gym will help. It’s a great cure for stressful days”. That’s why on National Fitness Day Abbie is so keen to recommend going to the gym.  Any final tips on strength training? Try her favourite weightlifting exercise, deadlifts. “They’re a great compound movement which engage wider muscle groups”.

 Enjoy Working Out on National Fitness Day Like Abbie

Fitness isn’t just for one day, it’s for life! And at Xercise4Less Gyms we want you to enjoy working out as much as Abbie. She loves training at our Sheffield gym “as they have a range of free weights and the stair climbers!” They’re the only cardio she enjoys in fact; it’s strength training all the way for Abbie.

If you want to try weight training for yourself, join Xercise4Less today and work out in a real gym motivated by friendly fitness staff. Benefit from our free inclusive exercise classes full of supportive members and a gym full of fitness equipment. Take up one of our free unlimited gym passes on National Fitness Day 2019 and you’ll see exactly why Abbie Marshall is a Xercise4Less member!

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Our Top Ten Tips for the Gym

Top Ten Tips for the Gym. A bit of a tongue twister but our list of gym advice is a must-read for exercise newbies and fitness beginners, so you start off on your fitness journey with a spring in your step. Whether you’re a fresher gearing up for your first trip to the gym or have just begun to work out in your local fitness centre, this Xercise4Less gym tips guide is for you!

Before we get to our ten workout tips, Samantha, a long-time Xercise4Less Hounslow gym member, has some useful words of advice for fitness newbies. Make sure you prepare before you go to your local gym. “I always have a routine ready or a workout plan ready for my session, so I know what I’m going to work on before I get to the gym”. Use music in the gym. Samantha makes sure that “I have my workout earphones for some music, to make the session more fun”. Don’t miss out on warming up or cooling down. As Samantha knows from her gym experience, it’s vital “to prevent injury and reduce muscle soreness after workouts”.  

Now on with our ten useful tips for the gym!

 1: Join X4L Gyms

 Just kidding.

1: Understand Gym Etiquette

Familiarise yourself with the unwritten rules of the gym and your Xercise4Less experience will run much more smoothly. Understanding basic gym etiquette, like wiping down a machine after using it, will not only make you an upstanding citizen, but also improve your reputation with the regulars. Check out our blog on gym etiquette for more tips on how to work out with the right attitude.

2: Choose the Right Workout Right for You

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? When you do what the type of exercise that you enjoy, you’re far more likely to continue working out. Why not try some of our group fitness classes, or begin with a bang with our Body Transformation Camp to learn exactly what exercises make you tick. Lift weights, run on the treadmill, enjoy Boxercise, it’s up to you. Just pick a workout that you’ll continue doing!

3: Finish Every Rep

When you’re lifting free weights or working out on a fitness machine, finish each repetition. Many beginners focus too much on lifting and not enough on lowering. Make your muscles work all the way through their entire range of motion. If you can’t control the weight during the lowering phase, you’re probably lifting too much weight.

4: Love Compound Movements

Performing compound movements in the gym challenge multiple muscle groups simultaneously. That gets you the best results for both muscle growth and weight loss. Start off with compound lifts like squats, bench press, shoulder press, bent-over rows, deadlifts, pull-ups, and lunges to see real positive results.

5: The Key to Good Lifting Technique

When you’re beginning to lift weights, you need to pick up the right habits. Control your lifts. Don’t try to lift too much weight too soon. Engage your core. Keep an eye on your posture. Squeeze at the top of every movement. Talk to one of our Xercise4Less Personal Trainers for some friendly advice on the best workout techniques.

6: Rest and Recuperate

Everyone needs some time off after a tough session. Try to get eight hours of sleep every night and make sure you take at least one rest day a week. Rest up so you can repeat another energising workout when your fitness programme calls for it. There’s no benefit to overworking at the gym.

7: Nutrition is Just as Important as the Gym

Eating the right foods for your body is just as important as sticking to your fitness programme. Replace obvious unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives and cut back on processed sugar. Try filling at least half of your plate with vegetables. You can enjoy an indulgence here and there but stick mostly to healthy food choices. Our Body Transformation Camp will get you started with its expert nutritional advice. Samantha is particularly keen on pre-workout nutrition. “I make sure I’ve had a good pre-workout meal that consists of adequate protein, carbs and fats”.

8: Gym Habits and Goals

A great gym tip is to set measurable targets for yourself. Samantha advises that she monitors her progress closely by “gradually increasing the intensity of my workouts”. Create short, medium and long-term goals and give yourself both something to aim for and something to celebrate when you hit your targets. The first time working out at the gym has to be the start of a long-term habit. Give yourself time to make the gym ‘stick’. When you’re annoyed to be missing a workout session, you’ll know you’re on the right path.

9: Patience is Key

Gaining muscle, losing weight and getting fit don’t all happen at once. Progress can be slow so it’s key to stick with your gym workout even if you think you’re failing. Be realistic and you’ll find that you’re progressing towards your targets even if it’s only in inches! You can always ask for advice from our fitness staff to keep you motivated. Just don’t quit.

10: Learn from Your Mistakes in the Gym

Nobody was an expert on their first day in the gym so don’t be afraid to make mistakes when you’re working out. Do learn from those mistakes though. A top tip is to keep a track of what you’re doing in the gym with a journal. Or sit down with a Personal Trainer to thrash out a dedicated fitness programme. You can also check out our workout guides to understand the right technique for all the major gym exercises. When you’re confident in what you’re doing in the gym, you’re more likely to keep coming back!

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How to Start Your Student Fitness Journey – with Rakin

Are you an active student starting university for the first time? Want some help on setting up a workout routine as a fresher? You’ve come to the right place. Starting off university life isn’t easy but that’s where one of our gym members, Rakin from Xercise4Less Hull, comes in. He wants to share some fitness advice that he wished he knew as a student. Over to Rakin!

I know how just challenging your student fitness journey can be, having done the transition from university life to full-time employment. Whether it’s the stress of studying or living on a tight budget while cooking your own meals and doing your own washing, it’s tough to cope at first… we haven’t even talked about dealing with hangovers! It’s all part of the student experience but sometimes your new student life can be a real block when you want to get fit.

Getting Fit as a Fresher

I’ve built up my fitness through training at Xercise4Less gym in Hull 7 days a week. My sessions consist of a mix of free weights, bodyweight training, HIIT and finish off with some bag kicking. My local gym has really helped with that; I never have to wait for any equipment as there’s always an alternative. I can fire through my sessions without waiting around for a weight machine or bench. And that’s invaluable when you’re a student under time pressure and needing to release some stress.

Equipment is just part of what makes a good gym for students though. The atmosphere of a gym can accelerate your progress or set you up for stagnation and that’s really driven by the people around you. I really like the atmosphere at Xercise4Less Hull as the staff are very friendly and helpful, but the gym members are great too. You end up seeing the same faces in the gym which helps you feel comfortable and enables you to ask for advice or a spot whenever you need it.

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Working Out the Right Way to Exercise as a Student

You can be into bodybuilding, powerlifting, CrossFit, running, it’s up to you. Whatever exercise you prefer, the key is to set your own personal goals as this is your unique student fitness journey. Here are some exercise lessons that I’ve found useful as a student:

  • Set short, medium and long-term goals to give yourself something to aim for. Breaking down a long-term goal into smaller pieces helps with motivation and hitting those milestones is such a satisfying feeling. I personally try to walk 8,000 steps a day as my short-term goal!
  • Routine is important with student exercise and the key to routine is preparation. Get your gym clothes ready the day before. Know what time of the day you’ll be training and how you’ll be working out. It doesn’t matter whether you want to follow a precise fitness programme or decide on a group exercise class the evening after a lecture. The main thing is you prepare before you go to the gym.
  • We all have our own internal motivation, so find the right fitness spark for you. What area of the gym do you most enjoy? If you’re dreading your sessions after a tough day in the library, it’s hard to find a positive workout attitude.

Eating Your Way Right Through College

Eating the right foods for your body is just as important as sticking to your fitness programme. Thankfully it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune there’s always a student budget to stick to.

Use your freezer to make sure you eat enough protein a day (I stick to 1-1.2g per pound of body weight). Buy packets of raw chicken and turkey and freeze them or grab frozen fish supermarket bargains for incredible sources of protein. Tinned fish like mackerel, tuna, and sardines have always been a good option for me. Other really affordable proteins are eggs, Greek yoghurt, Skyr, and Quark. Just make sure it has around 20g protein per 100g. If you’re a student who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, then cheap beans and legumes are your best friend. My cupboards are filled with cans of chickpeas and lentils!

Don’t forget about affordable carbohydrates either like oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and wholegrain pasta. Ensure that your student life gets a healthy dose of essential fats too through olive oil, nuts, and avocados.

Draw the Right Student Lessons

When you’re a new student it can be hard to find a college community that fits but don’t worry. When you join Xercise4Less gyms, you’ll find a real community of friendly fitness enthusiasts like Rakin to keep you on the right fitness track. Join Xercise4Less Gyms and start your student education with the right lesson!

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The Ultimate Gym Etiquette Guide from Xercise4Less Gyms

When joining a new gym, perhaps your local gym Xercise4Less, and start working out for the first time- it’s important to know the unspoken rules of the gym. Knowing basic gym etiquette; how to act around the gym, will make your workout experience so much more enjoyable. It’ll also help you avoid glaring looks from the otherwise friendly human beings exercising around you.

Whether you’re a first-year student starting at a university gym, or the gym is already your second home, the effect of breaking the unwritten workout rules is the same: disappointment and awkward moments. Here then is a gym etiquette 101 refresher course to get you started.

Know Your Local Gym Rules

We begin our guide to gym etiquette with what seems like an obvious rule. Yes, we’re starting with the basics- know the Xercise4Less gym rules and pay attention to them. The exercise guidelines are clearly visible on the walls so remember to read them rather than just nodding at them as you move onto the free weights. Gym etiquette differs from gym to gym. It includes things like whether you can take your shoes off or whether you can use chalk to lift. If you’re not sure about a house rule, just talk to one of our friendly fitness staff who’ll be happy to advise you.

Always Put Gym Equipment Away

This is a big one. The pet peeve of many a veteran gym goer- make sure that you put the gym equipment away after you finish an exercise. Re-rack weights like dumbbells or weight plates. If you’ve moved anything out of place like mats, then put it back for the next person to use. This is perhaps the number one rule in the gym. Unfortunately, though, it’s a gym rule that’s continually broken, being both dangerous for and inconsiderate towards your fellow members.

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Leave Fitness Equipment Clean

There’s something divine about taking a nice relaxing bath. Less divine, though, is the idea of taking a dip in a sweaty puddle left by the previous user of the bench press. Take on board Xercise4Less gym etiquette and leave the exercise equipment clean after you’re worked out. Of course, gyms are sweaty places, it can’t be helped. Be a good person though; bring a small towel and wipe down the machine or bench before you move on.

At an Xercise4Less Gym Respect Everyone’s Personal Space

In a friendly gym like Xercise4Less we’re very keen on respecting other people’s personal space. Gyms can be busy, especially during peak times, but don’t make someone working out feel that you’re going to jump in at any moment. There’s no need to stand 10cm away from someone using the equipment that you want next. Also, don’t stare at anybody in the gym. It’s not only distracting when you’re trying to work out, but it can make some gym users, particularly female members feel very uncomfortable. That’s why we provide women’s only gym zones at each of our gyms. You’re probably not good enough to exercise with perfect form whilst also thinking about what other people are doing.

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Mind the Noise Level in Your Gym

Every one of our members is encouraged to train hard but excessive noise while working out is discouraged. It’s perfectly fine to make some noise as you work through a tough lift or strain on a fitness machine but try not to grunt angrily at your fellow gym goers while you test your limits. Screaming is also not cool; it means you need to drop the weight a little. As a side point, try to keep the gym chitchat to a minimum during the rush hour. Even with all the gym equipment that we provide, space and machines are limited. There’s nothing worse than waiting for someone to move on to another machine while they’re busy chatting on their phone. This only applies during rush hour though, otherwise chat away!

Respect the Gym Weights

Gym etiquette means thinking of gym weights as your own equipment and that means fully respecting them. If you’re strong enough to lift with good form, then you’re strong enough to place the weight down in a controlled manner. Don’t drop or slam the dumbbells, you could break them or cause another gym goer to have an accident. If you’re in any doubt about this gym rule, just ask our Personal Trainers who are always around to help. If you’re looking to try a weight that could break your limits, don’t be shy- ask for a spot, for your own safety as much as the equipment’s.

The Only Guide to Gym Etiquette You’ll Ever Need

That’s all you need to know when you join an Xercise4Less gym, regardless of whether you’re a gym newbie or a weightlifting champion. Stay aware of your surroundings. Respect your fellow gym members. Act like it’s your own equipment that you’re using. Thanks for reading our guide to gym etiquette, remember these points and you’ll have more fun when you work out!

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World Mental Health Day 2018

For many of us, living a healthy lifestyle is incredibly important – we eat as “healthy” as we can, we run, we lift, we play sport, we practice yoga, (& party, of course) and we always try to better ourselves physically, strive for the perfect image, but sometimes, we forget about something.

Something incredible, something which keeps us alive, something which we simply do not appreciate enough and something we cannot see through our own eyes.

Our minds. 

In the past week, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people will experience a common mental health problem. A statistic we should not be able to ignore, yet, let’s face it, we’ve done a good job of doing just that in years gone by.

10th October, 2018’s focus is on young people and mental health in a changing world. Mental illnesses often start in young adulthood; and in a generation of social media domination, a plethora of hourly comparisons, and increasing worries around body image, relationships, “fitting in”, school grades, uni degrees and job securities (to name a few), it is absolutely paramount that we give young people access to the support they need to grow up happy, healthy and more than ever, resilient… and that’s why we’re offering everyone – past members, potential members, whatever shape or size, however your state of mind – a 5 day free pass to relieve any daily stresses through exercise. ?

Mental Health can be a sensitive subject, with people commonly afraid to open up about personal issues for fears of being scrutinised or judged. We busy ourselves rounding up followers and likes, and have more ways than ever to connect with one another (digitally anyway), but then why are we still leaving eachother hanging? Despite having large social networks, why has it been found that twenty-year-youngs report feeling lonely twice as often as those in their fifties and sixties?

Well, we don’t know the definitive answer, but what we do know, is that World Mental Health Day, has been created to bash the stigma, combat the fear, and draw attention to the fact that we are all human, we all have ups and downs, and we have all been given this life, because we are strong enough to live it.

It is equally important to take care of your mental health, as it is your physical health; but what effect does exercise have on wellbeing? It plays a huge part! Even a 10 minute mooch can increase mental alertness, energy and promote an overall positive mood! Regular routine exercise can increase self-esteem, as well as reduce stress and anxiety and you can find so much more insightful information about the benefits of physical activity on mental wellbeing over here.

As well as offering you free entry from Wednesday to Sunday, we have also enlisted the help of our amazing staff members to talk about what helps them when it comes to mental health and physical activity, and what could help you…

Esther Lewarne, our central operations coordinator, said she’s never been very good at sport and always been quite intimidated of the gym and the people that use it as she thought they’d judge her ability. She plucked up the courage to get a PT at X4L so that she could learn to use the equipment and also to see what she was capable of. The main goal really was to lose weight. 

 “I never realised how much I would enjoy exercise and what impact it would have on my outlook and mental health. I will never be a size 0, nor will I be the sort of person that trains 7 days a week but I will always have the respect I should for my mind as well as my body and continue to exercise on a regular basis without pressuring myself to be the best.

Exercise now gives me a release that I wasn’t getting before and keeps my mind and body healthy. I will be forever grateful to myself for taking that first step”.

Jon Wright, Founder, commented: “The benefits of exercise go beyond just the physical. Exercise has a key role to play in helping to manage mental health problems including anxiety, stress and depression. To mark World Mental Health Day, we want to give everyone the chance to get away from everyday stresses and improve their mental wellbeing by getting active.”

James Hesling, our General manager of Leeds North says that “health” is something that many people don’t realise falls into different forms. There’s the obvious physical health, which is why so many people join Xercise4Less but what’s equally as important is emotional and mental health too. Mental health can be improved in many forms, exercise being one of them! When we exercise we release endorphins in our body and our brains uses them to make us feel good!

#handsupforhealthy minds toolkit has been designed to give you nuggets of information on the mental health of young people aged 18-24; including facts, practical links, and downloadable content as well as some handy self-care tips!

Of course, there is no right way to do “fitness”; and there is no right way to take care of our mental health, but you can count on us at Xercise4Less from now until Sunday.

Fill in your free day pass – work up sweat, and sweat out the stress – we’re here for you. ? 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff when You Start University

The car boot is crammed full of your stuff. You’ve said goodbye to your family and it’s time to start up the engine on a great new adventure. Starting uni or college can be both a hectic time and a stressful experience as the 500% increase of students reporting mental health problems over the last ten years underlines. Leaving home for the first time, trying to get used to new freedoms and new routines while you’re meeting new people from all over the world can be daunting but Xercise4Less Gyms are here to remind you not to sweat the small stuff! University is a time to be enjoyed, not endured, so here are some student tips on how to last the distance in your new college life.

Set Yourself Up for Success on Campus

When you finally start higher education you might find you have less time to sleep and less time to think about your health and wellbeing. Socialising, boozing, eating fast food late at night is all part and parcel of student life. But this life-changing experience doesn’t have to come at the cost of your physical or mental health.

That’s why we put our heads together at Xercise4Less to offer an easy way for you to stay fit as a fresher. Until 30th September we’re offering a fantastic student fitness deal of £0 Joining Fee and your First Month for just £1. Our student gym membership also comes with a Free 3-month tastecard and 2 Personal Training Sessions. If you want to try us before you join you can take up our 5 Day Free Gym Pass, available until 30th September. You won’t run out of steam during your first few months at university when you can join your nearest Xercise4Less gym!

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Never Running Out of Steam

Take the weight off your new student life with a fitness routine to work off the partying excess and keep you on a good academic track. Exercising regularly boosts your energy levels, enabling you to fully experience the best student life has to offer, and come out with a respectable result afterwards. When you sit down with an Xercise4Less Personal Trainer to plan your fitness programme, don’t limit yourself to exercises that you’ve always done. University life is about experimenting so play around with free weights, a Les Mills BodyBalance class or virtual cycling.

University is about making friends, too, so find a new workout buddy to extend your uni network. Create a fitness plan that you’ll stick to with achievable and measurable goals. Schedule your workouts to fit within your weekly class schedule. Exercise consistently improves your cognition as well as boosting your memory so workout during your college day. You can even cram for an exam while you do cardio on the stationary bike!

Keeping the Weight off Student Life

It’s easy to wander off a healthy nutritional path when you’re caught up in the excitement of student life. Take a breath though to focus on your food. Eating a balanced diet can help you feel better, cope with stress and perform well in the classroom. Learn to cook on a student budget. Don’t spend all your money on takeaways or microwave food when you can whip up a delicious home-cooked meal for less. Cook food in bulk then freeze it in meal-sized portions so it’s even quicker to heat up than microwave meals!

Avoid having too many fattening snacks in your student accommodation. Why not keep healthy snacks like mixed nuts and Greek yoghurt on hand for those late night study sessions. Or use your free 3-month tastecard for a healthy restaurant meal at a fraction of the normal cost. Remember to reward yourself too and indulge in your favourite cheat food every now and then.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

Going to university is an amazing opportunity to step into independent life but it can take a toll on your mental health. A deterioration in mental health is now a real problem for students in the UK. The suicide rate of UK students has increased 56% over the last ten years with over 15,000 first year university students reporting mental health issues in their first year.

We’ve talked about the physical benefits of exercising and taking care of your diet but working out is just as important for your mental health. In fact, exercise is considered vital by mental health professionals for reducing stress and keeping a balanced mental state. Fitness also demonstrably improves your concentration and recall so exercise is ideal in the run-up and during exams!

We like to keep our university fitness offers affordable on a student budget. Sign up to Xercise4Less Gyms before 30 September for only £1, pay a £0 joining fee and receive a free 3-month tastecard and 2 Personal Training sessions to boot. Or you can try our student 5 Day free gym passes, also up to September 30th. You don’t need a third level education to know that’s a great bargain!

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Ride Like the Wind on Cycle to Work Day 2019

Strap on your bike helmet for Cycle to Work Day on 8 August and get pedalling with Xercise4Less Gyms! It doesn’t matter whether you love cycling to work or haven’t been on a bike for years, now is the opportunity to get on your bike and grind out the gears outdoors or in the gym. You can ride solo to your job or take on a biking challenge with your gym friends for this national bike to work day. With Xercise4Less however you can also make cycle to work day just the start of your bicycle adventures.

Cycle to Work Day is the UK’s biggest cycle commuting event but don’t let that put you in a spin. Xercise4Less gym members can already include cycling in their weekly fitness programme. The benefits of riding a bike don’t have to be limited to cycling to work every day when you can access loads of stationary bikes and indoor cycling classes like spin sessions or virtual cycling.

Let’s take a look at why you should get the lycra on and ride your own Tour de Fitness at your local gym. 

The Benefits of Getting on Your Bike in the Gym

At Xercise4Less Gyms we like to lead from the front when it comes to indoor cycling. That’s why we provide 30 spin bikes including IC7 bicycles and 16 upright and recumbent bikes in every gym. There’s no need to bike to work every single day when you can benefit from cycling in our gyms whenever you want. Our spin classes or indoor cycling sessions offer amazing opportunities to go up the gears of your fitness plan. Just think dark room, stationary bikes, blaring chart music and a class full of sweaty cyclists and prepare to be blown away by your fitness improvements.

There’s no need to soft pedal how indoor cycling can supercharge your fitness. Spin cycle classes and virtual cycling increase your cardio fitness while being low impact exercise and there’s no chance of cars splashing you! Indoor cycling helps increase the endurance of your leg muscles and adds muscle definition to your legs and core. Spin classes will also benefit your joints with improved balance, coordination, and gait. As a bonus indoor cycling classes can be a great way to make some new gym buddies. Our gym members have lots of indoor cycling options including spin classes and virtual cycling. Check out our fitness class timetable to come along for the ride. 

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Grease Your Fitness Wheels with an Xercise4Less Spin Class

With 30 spin bikes including IC7 spin bicycles, your local Xercise4Less gym offers you every incentive to get in the saddle and get cycling. Our Cycle4FiiT spin classes are high-intensity cycling workouts with constant pedalling using varying resistances and speeds to simulate the effects of riding a bike uphill, downhill and fast along straight roads. Work out with an inspirational personal instructor and listen to pulsating chart music as you push yourself to the limit. You won’t be spinning your wheels with indoor cycling; this spin class is a rough ride that will increase fat loss and build muscle as you burn between 500 and 700 calories in an hour’s workout. You can book Cycle4FiiT or any indoor cycling classes with the Xercise4Less mobile app, on our website or at your local gym reception. Spin classes are usually run multiple times during the week. 

Change Exercise Gears with a Virtual Cycling Class

Before you ride off into the sunset, spin classes are not your only indoor cycling options. A Virtual Cycling class is a terrific way to build your fitness and build some confidence for cycling outdoors. Stationary bikes will never be dull again when you can choose your location, get on your bike and ride away virtually to destinations around the world. Feel like you’re actually riding outside the gym as you pedal as fast as you can. Virtual cycling isn’t just some gimmick either, riding a virtual bike improves your workout by increasing exercise awareness, concentration and effort rather than staring at a gym wall. You’ll be aided by virtual instructors who’ll guide you along some of the world’s most exciting cycling routes while providing encouragement. Virtual cycling is perfect for every gym member no matter your real body shape, your age or your fitness level. 

Ride on to Improved Fitness Levels with Xercise4Less Gyms

National Cycle to Work Day is a great opportunity to get out and pedal towards new fitness levels but with Xercise4Less gyms it can be just the start of a fun fitness journey. Whether you take your bike to work every day or want to go to the gym more regularly, an Xercise4Less gym membership will enhance your fitness at an affordable cost. Our friendly inclusive gym is a real community that can help inspire you to your fittest level yet. Get on your bike and sign up to Xercise4Less Gyms on take your bicycle to work day! 

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Drink in the Benefits of World Plant Milk Day 2019

Vegan? Lactose intolerant or dairy-free for health reasons? If you’re a fan of almond or soya milk in your coffee or you prefer a dollop of coconut milk on your cornflakes, then the upcoming World Plant Milk Day is perfect for you. On August 22, 2019 the organisers of this annual non-dairy milk extravaganza are encouraging you to ‘do your body good and do the world good’ by avoiding dairy milk and try one of the many plant-based milk alternatives.

As part of a general food trend in the UK towards vegan foodstuffs, plant milks are increasingly popular. You no longer have to search for coconut milk in your local health food shop; alternative plant milks or mylks are widely available in every supermarket. To celebrate World Plant Milk Day at Xercise4Less Gyms we want to have a closer look at how popular dairy alternatives can fit into your health and fitness plans. 

How Non-Dairy Milk is Good for You

Nutritionally, non-dairy milks have a lot to recommend them. Plant milk is a good and sustainable alternative to dairy milk and even brings some added health and wellbeing benefits. Research has shown that a wholefood, plant-based diet that includes plant milk can help prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even some kinds of cancer.

Avoid dairy milk and cows won’t be crying as plant milks are simply better for animal welfare. The methods of the dairy industry cause huge stress to the bovine population. Drinking soya lattes is also better for the human population and the planet as animal agriculture causes major greenhouse gas emissions. Dairy farming also requires more extensive land usage than growing plants so any reduction in dairying means more sustainable agriculture to feed the world’s ever-expanding population. Non-dairy alternatives are also a veritable land of milk and honey with an incredible range of plant milks from almond to hemp to cashew and quinoa milk. With this range of dairy free drinks continuing to grow, it couldn’t be simpler to make non-dairy milk part of your nutritional plan.

But which type of plant milk should you go for on World Plant Milk Day? 

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The Cream of the Plant Milk Crop

We’ve gone from having soya milk as the only real alternative to dairy to an overwhelming number of plant-based milks currently available in UK supermarkets:

  • Soya milk – The original plant milk is the most nutritionally similar to cow’s milk. Moderate in calories, soya milk is a good source of protein and calcium and is delicious as a cooking ingredient or in coffee.
  • Almond milk – One of the most popular non-dairy alternatives, almond milk is rich in nutrients and contains powerful antioxidants against cancer and heart disease. Perfect for pouring over cereal.
  • Rice milk – Nut and gluten free and extremely low in calories, rice milk is naturally sweet and ideal for baking. It also makes a refreshing drink on its own.
  • Oat milk – Oat milk has more protein and fibre than most plant-based alternatives but also more carbohydrates and sugar. Oat milk has the least impact on the environment of all the various plant milks.
  • Coconut milk – Rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc lauric acid, coconut milk boosts your immune system and is used extensively in cooking and baking. It’s pretty good in a cup of coffee too.
  • Cashew milk – The creamy cashew milk is also perfect for coffee and tea as it doesn’t have a strong taste. Porridge lovers will really milk this non-dairy alternative dry. 

Which is your favourite?

A Key Part of Your Exercise Plan

When you join an Xercise4Less gym you soon realise the importance we place on getting your nutrition and diet right as part of your overall fitness programme. If you are looking to get fit, maintain your current weight or lose weight, a varied diet including plant milks is the best way to nourish a healthy body.

Let us plant the idea with you then of our incredible Body Transformation Camps. Our 8 week gym programme for men and women of every fitness level completely changes old habits and diets and creates new healthy ones. Fitness sessions are only one part of how we help your transform your body though. You get inclusive access to superb nutritional tools like the Xercise4Less nutrition app to tailor your meal plan to your own specific calorie and macro-nutrient requirements. Change your body and mind for good with the right fitness knowledge and book our life-changing body transformation camps on World Plant Milk Day!

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