Mental Health & Body Image

How Do You Feel about Your Body?

Amazing? Empowered? Happy? Healthy? Liberated? They’re just some of the positive words our members use for those great days when they feel great about their body. But of course, even at Xercise4Less gyms we don’t always feel happy about how we look. And that has a big impact on our mental health.

We know that a positive body image is key to better “overall well being and fewer unhealthy dieting behaviours”. A recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that 20% of adults polled felt ‘shame’ or ‘disgust’ because of their body, while 34% felt ‘down’ or ‘low’ when they considered their body image.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we decided to survey our members and social media followers to get a better sense of how they really feel about their bodies. You can also find out what our head office staff said here!  

So, what did our 526 survey respondents think?

Gym Members of Every Possible Body Shape

At Xercise4Less Gyms everyone is welcome whatever your body shape is and whatever your fitness goals are. Our friendly fitness team and Personal Trainers are there not to judge but to support you whether you’re working towards a body building competition or just want to work off your Christmas dinner. We’re focused on improving your health and well being, for us strong is not a size!

In our survey of a Xercise4Less gym members, we asked ‘how happy are you with your body?’. While almost 35% said they were ‘Not happy at all’, encouragingly over 62% said they were ‘A little happy’ or ‘Mostly happy’ with how their bodies look. That’s very important as our self-esteem can be hit badly by a negative body image and those body image concerns can endure from child to adult and affect both women and men.

 We work closely with our members to motivate them for work outs, so it was interesting to see how often they felt 100% positive about their bodies? Over 40% said they ‘Never’ felt good about their body image while 24% had a positive image of their body ‘Most of the time’ or ‘Half the time’. Just over 10% of our respondents felt positive about their bodies ‘Always’.

What causes those negative body images?

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A Real Concern About Your Body Image

If you’ve ever felt down about your body, you’re far from alone. According to the Mental Health Foundation, almost 70% of teenagers and adults have either been anxious or depressed directly because of their body image.

Our view of our own body is affected in very many different ways, but we are heavily influenced by how our family and friends talk about appearance and by our exposure to unrealistic body images through advertising and social media.

You might think then that taking ‘gym selfies’ would be a wholly negative thing. Our gym members would seem to disagree. Of those who take ‘gym selfies’, most are concerned with positive progression rather than an obsession with how others perceive them. Xercise4Less gym members think gym selfies give them a sense of achievement, make them proud, and instill confidence in their future fitness journey. As for other people taking gym selfies, the members of our gyms feel inspired rather than depressed, “good on them” being the attitude.

Working Out the Best Mental Approach for Your Health 

We can work with you at Xercise4Less gyms to work out how to get the best from your fitness programme but why do our members and social media followers exercise? Simply, the positive feelings that our members get about themselves and their bodies.

When asked how would they describe those days when they were feeling positive? The replies range from “I’m happy I’m alive” and “I’m positive about how I am” to “I am me, what could be better?” or “like I can conquer the word”.  Positive-feeling members also used words like “Strong”, “Confident”, “Glowing” and even “Plumpicious”!

The benefits of regular exercise sound pretty good, don’t they?

A Healthy Transformation with Xercise4Less Gyms

At Xercise4Less we see ourselves as a supportive community of fitness enthusiasts. We provide the motivational support our gym members need as they start their fitness journey or as they continue to transform their body. We understand that being supported is vital because many studies have shown that body appreciation is tied to consistent well being and fewer dieting problems.

There are things however that you can do as an individual to take better care of yourself. If you find that your body image is getting you down, why not speak to a health professional or a friend that you can trust? Or work with one of our Personal Trainers on realistic fitness goals. Take time out too to appreciate the strides that you’ve already made in the gym or look forward to the payoff for joining a People’s Gym. Try to not pay too much attention either to the unrealistic body images presented on social media, on TV or in glossy magazines.

Whether you want to transform your body shape or just have some fun exercising, we are there to support you every step of the way, mind and body.

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Demi Anderson – Transformation Story

 Demi Anderson from Xercise4Less Cumbernauld has achieved an amazing 4 stone loss over 1 year.

‘’Before starting my fitness journey I was very unhappy with myself and my confidence levels were so low I stopped making any efforts. Before, I would just eat and not think of consequences, I didn’t learn how to cook properly, it was all oven food and takeaways. With time I realised I couldn’t live the rest of my life like this and only I could fix the issues with myself and make a change.

Finally, I managed to get the motivation to make a change – I started eating better, I learnt how to cook and learnt what my body needed (I’m vegetarian), and I started to feel better and started to see the weight coming off and felt more energised.

I then started exercising, I joined Xercise4Less Cumbernauld when it opened, I was very excited (but nervous), I wasn’t fit at all but felt relaxed at the gym, having the ladies only section was great for me and I was able to see a massive change in the first month to my fitness levels and it has only increased as the weeks went by! So far I have lost 4 stone in a year, I have learned to love fitness and working out and I have gained so much confidence!

My future goal is to be more toned and to build muscle, to be stronger. Losing weight gave me confidence and I am no longer hiding in the corner or scared of cameras! I am healthier and more active and I can actually enjoy going out and spending time with friends without being knackered all the time.

”My advice to anyone who wants to see results is simple: do it! Push yourself as you need to make the change and you need to make your own happiness.’’

Incredible transformation achieved by Demi Anderson, massive well done from all of us at Xercise4Less, we are so proud! 

Cara Readle – Celebra

Cara Readle, well-known for her role in the popular children’s TV series Tracy Beaker, was born with cerebral palsy. 

She is a regular member of Xercise4Less and recently completed a duathlon in her local branch in Swansea; prior to which, she trained twice a week with her PT, Emma, in preparation the challenge ahead!

She walked 5k on a treadmill and 5k cycle on a static bike in her local Swansea gym – and although she knew this would be challenging, she was determined to raise money for Cerebra. 

“It may take me all day but I have started training for this and I have lots of support.”

About Cerebra

Cerebra are the charity who work wonders for children with brain conditions.

Their vision is that every family that includes a children with a brain condition will have the chance to discover a better life together. 

Their Mission is to listen to families that include children with brain conditions. They use the stories that are shared with them to inspire the best research and innovation. Then they help put the knowledge into practice so families can discover a better life together.

~

Cara is a Swansea born actress who achieved a first class degree in preforming arts at the University of Wales Trinity St David. She’s now a model and has been an ambassador for the children’s charity Cerebra for seven years.

Find out more about Cara and  her amazing journey over on her social media channels below. 

Twitter

Instagram

Student Gym Memberships from Xercise4Less Gyms. Get Fitter, Faster.

University Sports – How to Find Friends and Fit In

There’s nothing more likely to exhaust you than trying to pick a sport to play at university. If you’re keen to stay active in uni, you can choose from a heaving array of college sports teams. Most university sports clubs cater for everyone from the complete novice right through to the almost-professional athlete. And even if you’ve never stepped inside a gym and even if you think you hate exercise, you should join a university sports club as a fresher.

Why?

Let Xercise4Less Gyms give you a few good reasons for getting ahead of the game in your first year in uni.

The Real Benefits of Student Sports

Signing up to a university team is a huge help in finding like-minded students. You’ll make far more friends if you’re active in the uni sports world. Find your own tribe that are game for some fun activities and keep you fit for your college career. You’re at university now so you’re no longer dependent on the whims of your PE teacher or the demands of school sporty types. You’re free to make your own sporting choices and that really can be anything at college.

Whether you try archery, golf or even dodgeball, there’s also a great social aspect to university sports. College clubs will be enthusiastic to sign you up as a fresher so there’s an opportunity to try lots of different sports and meet lots of people you might not meet otherwise. Take part in something active and take it as seriously as you feel like. Have some fitness fun and work off some of those late night pizzas!

If you’re really not into sport, join a uni sports club for the health benefits. Playing for a team will help with isolation and loneliness, minimize stress, provide a break from the library and boost your mental and physical health. What’s not to like about that!

But what if you want to take university sports more seriously?

A Personal University Sports Academy

If you’re a serious sports person, you should consider joining your local Xercise4Less gym. We’re the sensible student choice for uni sports because we provide access to the latest equipment in huge numbers. You’ll be fitter than your uni sports friends when you can work out using over 400 pieces of state-of-the-art gym equipment from battle ropes and free weights to treadmills and spin bikes.

Our student gym membership provides you with access to a ferocious combat area including boxing ring, functional fitness zone and a private and self-contained Women Only gym area for female members. Whatever university sports you play, you’ll play them better with the fantastic range of fitness equipment you can use. 

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Find the Fittest Friends at Xercise4Less Gyms

Tired of working out just with your college sports team? At your local Xercise4Less gym you’ll find a whole cohort of new gym buddies to challenge and motivate you to new personal bests. Push yourself to fresh heights when you exercise alongside a new fitness partner. They can even suggest new routines to keep you interested and keep your muscles working hard. Try a new group exercise class and widen your fitness network. Working with our expert Personal Trainers will also give you a technical edge over your university sporting peers.

A University Sports Gym that Delivers Results

With an Xercise4Less student gym membership you’ll get your university sports career off to the best possible start. Sprint away from your college sporting rivals with a great value uni gym membership and no joining fee. Make fitness friends fast and give yourself an amazing sporting life at university.

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Go nuts!

Up your nut butter game with our guide to the best nut butters! 

With National Peanut Day and National Nut Day being our excuses to indulge in a whole host of spreads; we thought what better way than to spread the love thick on our favourite nut butters.

Gone are the days when the only option was peanut butter  ?  , you can now find tonnes of deliciously mouth-watering nut butters on supermarket shelves, but in a world of such diversity, how do you choose THE best?

With everything from chocolate orange almond butter, to cocoa peanut butter with coconut & honey gracing our Instagram feeds, we’ve weighed up some of the most popular flavours & brands which have exploded the market and whilst we provide nuggets of delightful details of products throughout this blog, we’d always recommend that you check out the nutritional labels yourself in order to maintain a balance diet!

We spoke to a few influential ladies within the health & wellness social hemisphere to bring you some of their favourite nut butters on the high street.

Two London based fitness, food and lifestyle bloggers who are also best friends/wannabe-sisters share their passion for leading a healthy, active and balanced lifestyles through @gains4girls.

Their favourite nut butter is the Pip & Nuts Chocolate Orange Almond Butter. Speaking of chocolate orange, why not try their Jaffa Cake Protein Truffles for a perfect post workout snack?

_Bethjohns, a confident, resilient, optimistic and avid gym go-er, also expressed her love for Pip & Nut, however, her flavour of choice was chocolate hazelnut.

We managed to speak to Veronica, the naturally nutty marketing intern from the famous Pip & Nut themselves.  She’d recommend the crunchy maple peanut butter, coconut almond butter or honey almond butter. But we’d recommend trying all three. In one sitting.

Madeline Shaw will get you glowing from the inside out. As a nutritional therapist, blogger and healthy chef who promotes recipes, wellness and self-care to a following of over 270k, we trust that when she says she loves the Meridian cashew butter, we would too! In fact, she recently used this in her chocolate collagen bars. Full of protein & (of course – as it says on the tin) collagen, they’re perfect for your morning commute, elevenses, afternoon pick-me-up & dessert after a lengthy day, why not give them a whirl this weekend?

Get the recipe here!

If you’re trying to get your head around how to be healthy, then look no further than Madeline’s 10 point golden guide to healthy living, which covers elements from hydration to deprivation and stress elimination!

Go nuts for these scrumptious spreads:

The original one: Peanut

Peanut butter is packed with monounsaturated fats and contains, vitamins and fibre but we most commonly associate the amount of protein per serving with this spread – and that’s all good being said, but what even IS monounsaturated fat and WHY is the fact its rich in fibre beneficial?

Well, monounsaturated fat is heart-healthy, it’s one of the ‘healthy fats’ and eating moderate amounts can benefit your health in terms of lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as helping manage blood sugar (particularly beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes).

Fibre is commonly known for the ability to regulate the digestive system, but contrary to popular belief, fibre is a carb, and a “healthy carb” at that. Did you know that over a third of the carbohydrate in peanuts is fibre?

Even though you shouldn’t use peanut butter as a dominant food source, its fine to eat every now & then in small amounts – moderation not deprivation!

The Instagram famous one: Almond

Whilst the popular peanut butter still dominates supermarket shelves, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that almond butter has been at the centre of the nut butter boom in recent years. 

We’re bombarded daily with healthy foodies generously drizzling and dolloping this nut butter atop their acai bowls and overnight “proats” (protein oats, of course); and with disruptive marketers such as Pip & Nut contributing to our desire for something sweeter, sales are soaring.

With a high calcium and copper content, almond butter is said to keep the brain sharp and skeleton strong, so similar to peanut butter, studies have shown links to reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and strokes – but which is healthier the peanut or the almond?

In terms of “actual” nutrients, almond butter is said to be healthier than peanut butter because it contains more vitamins (predominantly vitamin E) minerals (magnesium and iron) and fibre, however, both are calorie and sugar similar and we wouldn’t like to say either are “better”; because at the end of the day, the only downside of there is overconsumption (and unfortunately, we can’t help you with that!)

The not so cheap one: Cashew

Fun fact: Cashew nuts are actually the seeds of the cashew apple, which is the ‘fruit’ of the cashew tree. The actual ‘nut’ (as we know it) grows inside a hard (and highly poisonous) shell; which makes the extraction tremendously tricky – and that’s why cashews come at a higher price than other nuts!

Cashew butter contains amino acids and healthy fats, which like our other choices, can keep your heart healthy. It also contains higher volumes of magnesium which speeds up your metabolism and improves your immunity.

Pro – high in protein; con – high in calories; so just like with other butters, it is important you don’t overindulge (sorry!)

Cashew nuts also contain a high carb content, which is why if you are on a low carb diet you should monitor how much of it you consume.

The one which reminds us of Nutella: Hazelnut

Although similar to the above listed butters in many ways, hazelnut butter is not as high in protein as the others, so if you want to stay fuller for longer, then we’d recommend pairing this one alongside another protein rich snack.

Previous research has linked hazelnuts with healthy ageing and decreased anxiety levels. #worldmentalhealthday2018

However, be warned. Hazelnut is usually coupled with chocolate when it comes to spreads (think Nutella… and pancakes… and French toast… and a good tablespoon); and although harmless as a treat, too much chocolate spread is likely to harm your diet and possibly your health.

If you want that cocoa fix with your hazelnut, we’d recommend the meridian cocoa and hazelnut butter – made with 100% natural ingredients, with no added salt, sugar flavours or preservatives. Why not pair with some fresh strawberries… or some French toast!?

We could go into scientifically proven stats surrounding the health benefits of the nut butters, but what you really want to know is:

  • Where can I discover?
  • How can I devour?

From Aldi and Lidl to Waitrose and Selfridges, you can find a nut butter in almost every supermarket. And if you can’t, there’s a whole host of websites with a variety to choose from!

Here are some of our fave brands & a taste of their tastes:

The protein works

Cacao almond butter, almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, rawetlla

Pip & Nut

Peanut butter, choc hazelnut, choc orange almond, honey almond, crunch maple peanut, coconut almond

My Protein

Peanut, almond, power peanut, organic peanut, cashew, whey protein peanut, triple nut, rice protein peanut

Meridian

Almond, cashew, rich roast peanut, peanut with salt, coconut peanut, peanut with sunflower & sesame, cocoa peanut butter with coconut & honey.

Spitiko

Peanut butter with honey

Bioana organic

Crunchy, chocolate, coconut

Take nourishment to the next level.

Not sure what to rustle up for breakfast this weekend? Fear not, toast isn’t always boring. Try banana & chocolate orange almond butter on a slice of sourdough this Saturday morning!

And if you fancy something savoury? Why not try adding a dollop of peanut butter into your stirfry?

 On that note, we’re off for some snacks.

Molly Foster – Transformation Story

Molly Foster from Xercise4Less Manchester Middleton has lost an amazing 2 and a half stone.



Molly’s starting weight was 14 stone. Her motivation to start her fitness journey came from following Xercise4Less social media pages and influencers. She was inspired by seeing other people’s progression and decided she wanted to begin her own fitness journey. After 4 months Molly hit the 1 stone 8lbs weight loss, but struggled to lose anymore.

She quotes: ‘‘My weight wouldn’t shift and I felt I wasn’t making any progress, so I continued to keep going and I finally started to see so many more improvements.’’

To lose the extra weight Molly doubled her cardio time in the gym and she started to do light weightlifting. After 6 months she was able to lift heavier weights and started seeing the definition of her muscle coming through. #girlgains

Molly’s addiction to the gym increased and she now attends the gym every night and loves doing so. She created her own diet of which she shares on her social media pages. Her advice to those in the same situation as her is ‘For anyone who’s trying to lose weight is to be really persistent and patient with your weight loss, it will come and it doesn’t happen overnight, try to do things in the gym you enjoy so that it encourages you to go more!’


Molly now weights 11 stone 7lbs, meaning she has had an amazing 2 & ½ stone loss! 


Well done Molly! Absolutely amazing transformation!

Kate Parry – Transformation Story

 Kate Parry from Xercise4Less Hull has achieved an amazing 6 stone weight loss and dropped 5 dress sizes within 5 year



“I never really had much interest in going to the gym, I used to eat Chinese takeaway for lunch four or five times a week. I’ve always blamed my weight gain on of my laziness, poor diet and long nights on the computer playing The Sims and talking to friends on MSN. I got to a point where my weight was 18 stone.



At first I wasn’t bothered about my weight but all my friends at school had boyfriends and I never had one, no boys were ever interested in me. I got to a point where going out with my friends made me feel uncomfortable because I always comparing myself to them. Leaving school made me more conscious about my weight, I was often being called ‘fat’. This is when I finally decided I needed to make a change and I found the motivation to join Xercise4Less. 

Honestly, I think it was me who motivated myself, I had it in my head that I wanted to lose weight and feel good about myself and once you see results from all the hard work it makes you even more motivated to achieve more. I had a personal trainer helping me for six months and that’s when I learnt everything about the benefits of weight training. I now train four to five times a week depending on my schedule. 

I also changed my diet which resulted to be a very important part of my journey. Now I usually eat porridge for breakfast, tuna, rice and vegetables for lunch and then dinner usually consists of Quorn with potatoes and vegetables. I don’t even weigh myself anymore, I don’t believe that the number on the scale represents anything at all…it’s just a number really and in the past I’ve got to a point where I became obsessed with weighing myself and it made me unhappy. I go by how I feel and how my clothes fit but last time I got weighed I was around 12 stone.


Fitness is something I am passionate about and I’d love to help others who don’t think they can lose weight and feel good because you can achieve anything. You just have to have the right mind set!


My next goal is to train others and help them achieve their goals.

 Incredible transformation achieved by Kate, massive well done from all of us at Xercise4Less, we are so proud 

5 Reasons Why Exercise Lifts Your Mood

treatment. At Xercise4Less Gyms we see our members increasing their energy levels daily; feeling better about their bodies and improving their confidence and self-esteem through exercise.

So, we were happy for one of our members at Xercise4Less Leeds Kirkstall, Jess Geary to share her own gym experience with her 5 Reasons Why Exercise Lifts Your Mood. Take it away Jess!

1: Exercise Energises Your Mental Health

There are a variety of ways in which exercise can improve your mental health. Firstly, working out increases your level of endorphins- which are natural mood lifters. Exercise also increases serotonin, a neurotransmitter which helps your brain regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. Sleep patterns are massively improved by tiring yourself out through exercise. This helps protect your brain from damage, and safeguards your muscle health. Finally, exercise reduces the chemicals in our immune system which cause us to feel down.

For Jess, “going to the gym really helped me through some really difficult times”. A gym workout can really help you feel a sense of achievement, as well. “I would go to the gym for around 45 minutes and would come out feeling as if I’d accomplished something good”. That led to feeling “really proud of myself for doing a great workout and eventually seeing the results”.

2: Working Out Help You Make New Gym Friends

Jess knows that exercising can also be a really good way to socialise; “you are bound to meet people in the gym if you are going regularly, or even with your friends!” It makes a nice change from going down the pub or sitting around in a coffee shop. As Jess puts it, it’s a super healthy and different way to socialise with people who have similar interests to you.” Exercising with your new friends or a gym buddy group can also motivate you to stick to your workout routine for longer.

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3: Improve Your Brain Function with Exercise

Working out increases your heart rate which pumps more oxygen to the brain so “sometimes after a gym session, you can leave feeling much more awake and sharp”. Exercise also encourages the release of hormones which help grow brain cells. Your red face after a tough gym session is just great for those little grey cells!

4: Leave the Gym with a Feeling of Accomplishment

Creating a fitness plan and sticking to it gives you a real sense of achievement. Jess certainly feels that after her workouts, “one of the main reasons exercise lifts my mood is because I leave the gym having accomplished something”. Completing a tough workout gives a sense of achievement that improves your mood and mindset for the day ahead, just as soon as those endorphins kick in! “It’s a super-effective way to keep your mind focused on something, even just doing a small 30-minute workout can make me feel much better about the day”.

Working out regularly will soon show some physical improvements. Commit to exercising longer-term and soon you won’t be the only one to notice how your body’s changing. It’s a real mood enhancer for Jess when people start to pay attention, “a really great feeling when people start to notice you’ve been going to the gym”. Everyone loves a compliment so “this is a really simple and effective way to boost your mood”.

A Positive Change to Your Mood

Reaping the mental health benefits of exercise as Jess describes is easier than you think. Just join Xercise4Less Gyms! Get all the advantages of working out in an inclusive community of friendly people keen to get fitter. Strive towards realistic fitness targets at your local gym. Work out the best value gym membership for you to lift your mood by joining Xercise4Less today.

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The Ten Best Gym Tips to Kickstart Your Gym Membership

You’ve just joined Xercise4Less Gyms. You’re ready to commit to working out regularly. But you’ve never used a gym before and aren’t quite sure where to begin when it comes to exercise. Don’t worry, help is at hand. Our expert Personal Training staff have come up with a list of the Ten Best Tips to Kickstart Your Gym Membership, so you start your new fitness routine with just the right momentum.

1: Understand What You Want from Working Out

Before you step into your new Xercise4Less gym, it’s important to be clear about what your fitness goals really are. Adding muscle? Losing weight? Or do you have a more specific target like a race or competition to get fit for? Your fitness targets will change but having a compelling reason for exercise will keep you committed to your new gym and help determine your fitness programme when you start.

2: Your Initiation into All Things Fitness

Sitting down with our friendly personal training staff in your inclusive 1-2-1 personal training session is a great first step to building on those initial goals. Get a feel for how the gym works and use the expertise of our PTs to create an individual fitness programme that will works for your goals. You can also check out our blog on Gym Etiquette here.

3: Stick to Your Individual Fitness Plan

You have a good idea of why you’re exercising in the gym. Now you know how your new gym works and you’ve created your workout plan. But getting fit doesn’t happen all at once. Progress can be slow so try 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 inch by painful inch! Your commitment to working out is the key and you’ll commit more easily when you have a realistic plan to follow!

4: Ask for Help When You Need It

Were you an expert on your first day at work? No? Well, the Personal Trainers in every Xercise4Less gym know what they’re doing. When it’s not going well in the gym, stop and ask for their help. Our PTs are very approachable and always ready to provide guidance when you need it. Don’t be embarrassed; our friendly fitness staff love helping out our gym members.

5: Set a Workout Schedule that Works for You

Committing to a regular work out isn’t always an easy habit to maintain. Make it easy on yourself by scheduling a time that you’ll be able to manage on a regular basis. Whether you have Off Peak membership, a Flexible membership or a monthly subscription pick an exercise time that fits your work and home timetable and you’ll find working out easier. Make sure too to plug in some time to recover after your toughest sessions. There’s no benefit to overworking at the gym.

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6: Show Commitment That’s a Class Above

Share the workout pain with some of the other Xercise4Less members and commit to some group fitness classes. We offer an amazing range of up to 40 exercise classes a week at every Xercise4Less gym so there’s have plenty to choose from. Work up a sweat and create some camaraderie among the other members in spin classes or Les Mills sessions. Commit to going every week and you’ll soon see real improvement.

7: Find New Gym Buddies

Group fitness classes are also a great place to make new friends when you first join a new gym. Bond with some new gym buddies while trying to breathe and chat after an exhausting Core4FiiT. Try our Body Transformation Camps and make friends for life over an intensive 8 week period. Or work out with other like-minded female members in our Women Only gym zones. At Xercise4Less we’re a very friendly community full of members ready to meet and greet.

8: Get into the Zone

Sometimes you just want to work out on your own without distraction. You know your fitness plan, so get into your exercise zone and focus on cranking out those reps. No-one else is interested in how much you’re sweating; they have their own workout difficulties! Stay focused, commit to your own plan and see the benefits start to flow.

9: Smash Your Targets with a Stunning Playlist

And what better way to get you into the fitness zone than a killer playlist. Curate all your favourite up-tempo tracks from rap and rock to disco and pop into a smashing exercise playlist and you’re your gym session much more fun. Great music will energise you and soon all you’ve have to do is press play to kill your workout.

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10: Track and Measure Your Goals

Finally, on our list of ten tips for starting out at your new gym, track your progress through measurable goals. Create short, medium and long-term goals that you can really commit to. Give yourself something real to aim for and celebrate when you hit your targets. Don’t beat yourself up though if you don’t always achieve what you’re aiming for, focus on making positive strides overall.

The Benefit of Joining Xercise4Less Gyms

Sign up to our inclusive gym membership and you’ll soon feel part of a real community of new fitness friends. You’ll never have to worry about fitting in or finding out what to do in the gym. We’re always here for you and not just on your first day at an Xercise4Less gym. Don’t miss out on our free 1-2-1 fitness session when you first join and kick off your fitness journey with the right tools.

Go Sober for October

Go Sober for October and Replace Gin with the Gym

Before you say no to going 31 days without alcohol for Go Sober October 2019 think of the benefits of trying a booze-free month.

More satisfying sleep. Increased energy. More positive mood. Improved skin. Better concentration. Slimline waistline. A fatter wallet.

All of that sounds pretty good to us at Xercise4Less Gyms. So, why not take up this alcohol-free challenge and support a fantastic cause like Macmillan Cancer Support along the way?

We’re not saying it will be a breeze to give up alcohol for October but as always, we’re here to support you! Here are some practical tips for Go Sober October to get you through the month without letting a drop of drink pass your lips.

Plan a Proper Break from Alcohol

At Xercise4Less we want to help you improve your health and wellbeing so as you say goodbye to the pub for the month, we’ll be right beside you. First tip is to prepare for Go Sober October just like you’d prepare for any competition, in advance! Begin cutting your alcohol consumption in September to about 50% of what it would normally be, and you’ll make a sober October far less of a physical shock to the system.

Work out a less hectic social calendar for October so you’ll be less tempted to jump off the wagon and onto the drinks trolley. Exercise your creativity and come up with potential alternatives to your usual alcoholic drinks with a more sober mocktail perhaps, a non-alcoholic beer or even ginger beer! Keep your shopping list free from alcohol and avoid traipsing down the beer and wine aisle in your local supermarket from October onwards. If you can, clear all those spirits bottles out your house or lend them to someone who won’t be tempted to drown their own sorrows in your alcohol.

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Getting Through a Sober October

When going Sober in October, it can be a good idea to try to keep your mind off what you’re missing. Instead set yourself some goals for the month like fundraising targets for Macmillan or starting a new group fitness class at your local gym. Take your mental focus off alcohol and plan some healthy treats for those lovely hangover-free weekends. Meet up with some old friends but go for a walk in the country and avoid those country pubs! Do something you don’t associate with imbibing a few drinks.

Make sure, too, to drag some mates into doing Go Sober October with you. It’s easier to hold yourself to account when other people are sharing the alcohol-free pain! Some people will find it easier to give up that glass of wine than others, but it will get easier as you progress through your dry month. Keeping yourself busy during October will help but also keep in mind why you’re taking some time off from drinking. With Go Sober October you’re supporting a fantastic cause that helps many ill people. But the health benefits flow to you as well. Let’s look at how abstaining from alcohol can help both your mental and physical health.

The Health Benefits of Going Sober for a Month

Cut out alcohol for 31 days and you’ll see the physical benefits within a few days. A Sober October will give you a much more satisfying night’s sleep as alcohol can really affect your sleep quality of your sleep. You’ll feel your energy levels increase and your ability to concentrate at work and at home improve considerably. With alcohol to dehydrate you, your skin will look far healthier.

With the physical improvements that a sober month will come mental benefits. Feeling more energetic? You’ll feel more inclined to go to the gym leading to more happy endorphins flowing through your body. When a known-depressive agent like alcohol is taken out of the equation and exercise replaces it, you’ll feel sunnier and less prone to depressive thoughts.

You may even lose a few pounds just from the lack of alcohol as that’s loads of extra beer and wine calories that you’re no longer guzzling. Cheers to that! Stopping drinking will also mean you add pounds to your wallet rather than your waist. Celebrate your newfound riches by buying some clothes to fit the leaner non-alcoholic you.

Fighting Fit for the Longer Term

Ultimately, cutting out beer or wine for Go Sober October 2019 will improve your health longer-term. We’re not killjoys at Xercise4Less Gyms but think about cutting back on alcohol over the whole year rather than just one month and take an extra fitness class during the week rather than an extra trip to the pub!

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