Optimising Your Sleep: Improve Physical And Mental Health

Optimising Sleep - Feature
Optimising Sleep Blog - Main

How sleep can help boost your health and fitness

These are uncertain and difficult times for all of us, as the Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly causing great levels of concern. We may be required to stay in our homes for the imminent future, but that does not mean we cannot keep up with our fitness and health. Sleep is a vital component of health, and it is imperative we adapt our lifestyles during these unprecedented times to ensure we get the required amount of rest, improving our fitness and immune system through the on-going Covid-19 situation.

Finding a consistent sleeping pattern to boost your health and fitness

Whether you are able to work from home, have to look after your children or are self-isolating, there are a number of ways in which you can keep on top of your mental and physical health throughout this period of containment. It may sound simple, but even having yourself a regular sleeping pattern can be a key component of building your fitness. The NHS recommends a sleep of 8 hours is a healthy amount for our bodies to relax and reset during the night, preparing ourselves for the rigours of the following day. But how do we go about ensuring we get in our 8 hours?

Follow these 3 simple steps to optimise your sleep and fuel your fitness.

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1. Exercise promotes more efficient sleep

Exercise is one of the quickest wins we can have to get a better night’s sleep. Getting into a regular pattern of exercise can really pay dividends not only for your fitness, mental health and confidence, but it can also enable your body to relax on a night, ensuring you get the required amount of sleep to wake up healthier and in better condition.

Whether you have home gym equipment, the space to store home gym equipment or you are relying on core exercises you can still benefit hugely from training either in the morning or before you go to bed – there is no right or wrong time of day to workout. Exercise supports your ‘body clock’, allowing your body to understand the time of day and the situation better. This will allow your body to realise that it is night time, therefore getting ready to shut down and giving you a better chance of optimising your sleep.

The main objective is to get your hear rate going, improving circulation and blood flow for a healthier body and a healthier you. Having a good sleeping pattern will certainly benefit your fitness.

Optimising Sleep Blog - Home Exercise

2. Pay more attention to what you eat and drink

This may sound like a bit of a given, but it is vitally important nonetheless. As we are embarking on an unusual circumstance of being indoors, away from society and away from our daily routines for a while, nutrition will become a key component to your fitness and sleeping pattern. Lets be honest, we all have a craving for ‘comfort food’ every now and then, and being at home for the majority of the day is a temptation we can all do without.

Instead of going into your cupboard for your favourite packet of crisps, or biscuit, make sure you are training yourself to think about what you are putting into your body. Replenishing yourself with the right fuel is vital for preparing your body for a healthy sleep. Try to avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of when you would usually go to bed. So, if your bedtime is usually at 10pm, you shouldn’t be having a big meal after 8pm, for example.

If you like a hot drink before going to bed, why not substitute your tea of coffee for a Chamomile tea? This helps to boost your immune system, reduce anxiety and depression and improve skin health. In addition, chamomile tea has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality. Fruit and vegetables of course are always encouraged, but the main threat to your sleep would be putting caffeine, sugar and carbohydrates into your body relatively close to when you would like to sleep.

Optimise Sleep Blog - Healthy Food

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3. Relax your mind

  • A good sleep can be achieved by keeping your mind relaxed in the evening, especially if you have had a busy day working from home or looking after the kids. Having a warm bath will help your body and mind prepare for sleep, or even participating in light exercises such as yoga can relax your body and mind for sleep.

 

  • Put your mobile phone on ‘do not disturb’ or stop scrolling through your social media accounts once you are in bed. This will keep your mind occupied and distracted, hindering the sleep hormone ‘melatonin’ from being released. Reading a book, however, can help, but it is better to read on your sofa or chair rather than in bed. Keep your bedroom for sleeping in.

 

  • If you have to do a few hours of work on an evening, like catch up on emails or update a spread sheet, then try to give yourself at least an hour of relaxation before going to bed. This will help your mind switch off from work and forget the issues of the day, allowing you to focus on sleeping.
Optimising Sleep Blog - Do not disturb

Join our fun and inclusive fitness community

During this difficult time, we’re encouraging people to come together. Focus your love for fitness and the gym into our new series of home workouts that still allow you to work towards your goals and health in the comfort of your own home. Share your workouts with us and show us how you’re using this time to continue on your fitness journey with Xercise4Less Gyms. Once you’ve repeated the exercises at home and built up confidence, make a visit to the gym once we’re back open and use our wide range of quality equipment and facilities to improve your strength further.

All Xercise4Less Gyms provide members with access to a range of top quality kit as part of our great value gym memberships, including:

  • Private and self-contained Female Only gym zones for female members
  • Over 400 pieces of gym equipment for beginners to bodybuilders
  • Dedicated cardio and free weights training areas to build up your fitness
  • Motivated Personal trainers to help you achieve your health ambitions
  • Free weights ranging from 2kg to 75kg to build up your fitness
  • Wide range of resistance machines for toning and building muscle
  • Strength training apparatus like Olympic lifting platforms and squat racks for power lifters
  • Great selection of weight plates and cable machines for weight training
  • Large fitness studio perfect for stretching or creating custom mini cardio or light-weighted circuits with boxes, barbells, mats and plates
  • Purpose-built spinning-area with 30 spin bikes
  • Full-size boxing ring, MMA cage and punch bags in our amazing combat zone.

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What is Free Weights Training?

Barbell Weighted Plates
Barbell Weighted Plates

What are free weights?

Across at all 51 of our Xercise4Less gyms, we provide members access to a wide range of free weights equipment that helps everyone, regardless of ability and fitness level, to work on their gym journey with confidence.

Free weights includes a lot of equipment and that’s why we have dedicated free weights gym zones. In these zones, you’ll have access to dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, weighted plates, medicine balls and also benches. By combining some of these pieces of kit or using them solo, you’ll be able to kickstart your fitness journey. Try something new. Free weights give the opportunity to do exactly that. If you’re not too sure where to start, look at our workout guides or speak to a member of our friendly team.

Squats on Squat Rack

Free weights workouts to boost your health and fitness

When working out using free weights, the possibilities are endless. That is the best thing about using free weights – they’re inclusive. Everyone can give it a go. Weights start from 2kg and range all the way up to 75kg, so whether you’re a gym beginner or a weightlifting expert, Xercise4Less Gyms have something to suit you and your fitness journey.

New to the gym? Not so familiar with free weights? No problem. Ease yourself into this training with light dumbbells and barbells. Grab a couple of dumbbells and perform exercises like a shoulder press and bicep curls to boost your upper body strength. To improve your lower body strength, start with simple barbell squats or lunges, once you’ve build your confidence and perfected your form, start increasing the weight slightly and push yourself.

By pushing yourself whilst using free weights, you’ll start to notice results quickly. Weight loss results will increase as you push your heart rate to increase which means that you burn more calories. Muscles will grow and become stronger as you push them to become more defined and prominent. Sometimes our members just want to work on strength and conditioning and free weights assist with this perfectly. Using the gym isn’t always about getting ripped or dropping 5 stone, it’s about staying health, happy and confident. Our free weights help you to do this in a way to suit you.

Resistance training - lifting dumbbells

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Use free weights to suit your fitness journey

Everyone has different goals. Everyone has their own gym routine. Everyone has their own fitness journey. The amazing thing about free weights gym zones at Xercise4Less Gyms is the inclusivity. Navigate the gym best to suit you. We provide members with large exercise spaces, especially in our free weights gym zones meaning that you have the freedom and flexibility to choose how you use the area. Try some chest exercises on the benches or step into our Olympic training platforms and practice your deadlifts, squats and glute bridges for a major full body workout.

We understand that some people like to train solo and others like to have a gym buddy. Whatever your preference, the free weights gym zones at Xercise4Less Gyms is perfect for you. If you are someone who prefers to focus on their gym goals on their own, free weights training can be great for your mental health. Release worries, anxieties and lift your mood by lifting weights. Start to sculpt your physique to look how you’ve always wanted and once you notice the changes in your body that you’ve always wanted, you’ll have your free weights training to thank!

Don’t delay your fitness journey for any longer, maximise the free weights gym zones in Xercise4Less gyms today.

Become an Xercise4Less Gyms member today

There’s something to suit everyone at Xercise4Less Gyms. Whether you’re working on weight loss, muscle gain or just want to steadily increase your health and fitness, we’ve got a wide range of facilities to help you. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to gyms or an experienced gym user, at the People’s Gym, we include everyone.

Choose from quality weighted equipment, cardio machines, our unique boxing and MMA facilities or smaller fitness studios including spin studios. Not forgetting our inclusive Ladies Only zones and our wide range of group exercises classes including the famous Les Mills classes that will help you feel more motivated whilst making friends.

Don’t forget about how great value our gym memberships are! Pay less to smash your fitness goals and become the best version of you in 2020.

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Weight Loss Success Story – Amy Mathie

Weight Loss Success - Amy Mathie

Overcoming personal tragedy to succeed

Weight Loss Success - Amy Mathie

Xercise4Less Hull member Amy Mathie has overcome personal trauma and bereavement to successfully accomplish her weight loss success. Less than a decade ago, Amy had spinal decompression surgery as four of her five discs in her back had slipped, leaving her in agony and paralysed in her left foot. This was understandably a difficult period for Amy, and something she struggled to comprehend.

 

“I was in hospital for two weeks and when I eventually left, I was immobile and unable to walk. It was soul destroying and this caused me to become depressed. I started to eat a lot and I gained so much weight and when I went to my first Weightwatchers meeting in June 2012, I weighed nearly 20 stone. This was a wakeup call.”

Finding solace through Xercise4Less Gyms

From this point, Amy was determined to lose weight and get herself going on her fitness journey. Signing up to Xercise4Less Gyms has given Amy the platform and the confidence to boost her health through exercise, especially cardio workouts.

 

“I was always afraid of walking through gym doors and it was something I always avoided, worried about being stared at for being so big.”

 

“But last year, something changed. The crippled girl who hated looking at herself started to see more clearly. I introduced exercise and immediately fell in love. I can’t do all the exercises, but I make sure I give it a damn good go! I started by completing 10-minute treadmill walks and a little bit of rowing to build up to 45-minute walks.”

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'Doing it for Dad'

If dealing with severe injuries wasn’t enough for Amy to deal with, her world was rocked again on New Year’s Eve 2018, when she had the heart-breaking news that her beloved father had passed away. After the initial shock, Amy used her late father as motivation to continue her weight loss journey.

 

“I was going on holiday in early 2019 to remember my dad and I had a goal in mind. So when speaking to Alex I started doing PT sessions to help me achieve my goals of getting into a size 12 dress. Alex worked on a programme with me and even got me doing deadlifts to help improve my strength. My best was 75kg, which I couldn’t believe I was lifting.”

Fitness classes to boost confidence and health

As well as performing solo workouts, Amy began to attend fitness classes with her friend and thanks to helpful and friendly staff, the classes were adapted to suit her injuries and making sure she was able to gain the most from the classes and enjoy them in the process.

 

“I joined my first fitness class on a Saturday morning, the PT Alex was funny and friendly. As soon as I explained my injury, he adapted all the exercises for me, allowing me to join in with alternative exercises. This became a way of life and I wanted more. I started doing spin classes and through this I was able to lose 3 stone. I love the buzz and the calorie burn.”

Finding that inner belief

Seeing real fitness results and blasting the calories through exercise really gave Amy the confidence to continue her amazing progression. She started to restore the faith and belief in herself and found the gym a place of solace and fortitude. Having the support of her PT and friends, Amy was smashing her fitness targets on a regular basis.

 

“This crippled girl had finally done it! I was strong and building muscle definition. Alex always believed in my ability and I seriously couldn’t have done it without his help and support. Now, I have a gym buddy who I work out with three days a week and it has become a key part of our lifestyle. I have fallen in love with exercise and the way it makes me feel. I have now lost over 4 stone and I feel amazing – walking into the gym feels like home!”

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A revitalised diet to supplement training

In addition to exercise, Amy has also revolutionised her diet and nutrition. She wants to supplement her exercise with a clean diet, and this is clearly paying dividends for her. Hard work and commitment are just as important to your fitness journey as the time spent in the gym.

 

“My nutrition has also changed massively. I have turned to veganism to help with my performance and strength in the gym. Through everything we need to not give up. We need to make ourselves a priority and last year that is exactly what I did!”

 

“Have faith and trust in the process. We will always succeed!”

Incredible success story, Amy! Keep up the good work!

Why Xercise4Less Gyms?

We are proud of our friendly staff and inclusive community in our gyms and welcome people from all backgrounds and experiences to join us. Whether you’ve never stepped foot into a gym before or are an experience gym goer, join the Xercise4Less community today and take those all-important first steps onto your health and fitness journey.

Our members find everything they need to reach their personal goals in regard to health and fitness from our friendly staff to dedicated Ladies Only gym zone, special Spin studio or group fitness classes including Les Mills workouts and also toning and conditioning.

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5 Ways Of Improving Your Health In The Gym

5 Ways To Improve Health - Main

Develop health and fitness at Xercise4Less Gyms

Strengthening Exercises

You simply cannot put a price on your health, and going to the gym is a great way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing as well as developing your immune system. Exercising can be the catalyst for weight loss, fitness, boosting your mental health and building up muscle. Whatever your aims and targets are, you can rely on friendly, inclusive Xercise4Less Gyms to give you what you need to achieve your goals.

We have provided you with 5 top tips for improving your health in the gym.

1. Get your heart pumping with cardio exercise

Boosting your cardiovascular fitness is a crucial element of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, giving yourself a healthy heart and improving circulation, blood flow and your general respiratory condition. The common misconception is that cardio fitness is monotonous and boring, which, if you repeat the same exercises you are bound to fall into that mindset. Step your fitness up with moderate-intensity exercise two or three times per week, spending roughly 30 minutes to ensure you break sweat and get yourself ready for more prolonged exercise as you develop.

As well as preventing boredom, mixing up your exercise can help to prevent overuse injuries, and giving specific muscle groups a break from being continually worked. Instead of just pounding the treadmill, why not try ramp up your fitness on the bike, rowing machine or the cross trainer. At Xercise4Less Gyms we have a dedicated cardio section, allowing you to handpick the workout to suit you, with a wide range of fitness equipment to achieve all your aims and goals in a friendly, inclusive environment.

After completing moderate-intensity exercise for a number of weeks, you will then be gradually feeling fitter and able to take on more strenuous exercise. Step it up with high-intensity training, stimulate different muscles and gain different responses from your heart and blood flow. A great example of high-intensity exercise is a HIIT workout. HIIT training is perfect for maximising your time spent in the gym, meaning you can gain the most from a set period – typically 20 – 30 minutes, but of high intensity training. Primarily designed to boost your cardiovascular fitness, especially improving your VO2 max (your level of fitness through consumption of oxygen).

Cardio equipment - Treadmill

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2. Tone your body with resistance workouts

Blasting belly fat can be an uphill struggle but using our incredible range of resistance machines will help with your weight loss goal as well as enabling you to build muscle or enhance toning. Work your full body in our designated resistance zone, mixing up your workouts to create real fitness results as well as giving you a sense of enjoyment in the process.

From a health perspective, resistance training can lead to a healthy heart, improving your balance and strengthening your bones. Resistance training is a physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against an external resistance. The external resistance can be at your discretion, whether you prefer to use include free-weights or weight machines.

Strength and resistance training also increase your level of endorphins which work to boost energy level and improve your mood. Having a better level of energy and a happier mood will lead to optimal performance, meaning you are more likely to achieve all your fitness goals. This form of training can also encourage you to have a better night’s sleep.

Resistance training - leg press

3. Enhance your mental wellbeing through fun group exercise

It can be inspiring and motivating to have like-minded individuals around you with relatable goals. Exercising in a group can also give you confidence to push yourself to your limit and proving to yourself – as well as others – that you can go to that next level. Group classes are designed to be functional, but also incorporating the fun element of fitness, especially when the team environment is created. At Xercise4Less we encourage all our members to participate in group fitness classes, helping each other to achieve goals as a team.

Group classes also offer a structured setting which is ideal for those who do not want to plan a workout for themselves. This is a stress-free option, especially for new gym goers or anyone who is looking to build their social network or just not comfortable doing a solo workout. Getting involved with gym classes can encourage you to meet new people with similar lifestyles and goals, and you can always go for a coffee and have a post gym de-brief!

group fitness class

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4. Channel your aggression with combat exercise

Need a quick release of aggression? Why not visit your local Xercise4Less Gym and put on the boxing gloves to hammer the punch bags. Boxing is a great way to blast the calories and get you fit in barely any time at all. Boxing also works to improve your co-ordination, balance and agility to keep you light on your feet and is suitable for people of all ages and fitness. Give it a go!

If you are used to training with a gym buddy, get yourselves in the boxing ring and put on a pair of pads and do some sparring with each other. If boxing is not quite your thing, or you want to try something completely different, we also boast a Mixed Martial Arts cage for you to do battle in.

Combat - Renfrew

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5. Structure your fitness with a routine

Building a fitness plan or routine can be quite problematic. You have a whole host of ideas and targets that you want to achieve, and no idea how to do it. We’ve all been there. Thankfully for you, your Xercise4Less gym membership allows you to train in a range of different zones, whether it be cardio, resistance or combat. There will always be a piece of fitness equipment available for you to build your workout. The best advice would be to start of slow, and work to a plan that gives you a little bit of a sweat but not overdoing it.

Once you feel more comfortable and confident in the gym and in your body, you can start to progress your fitness and take it to the next level. Try doing more intense versions of what you have been previously doing or lift heavier weights than you could manage before. Putting together a simple but effective workout can be all the difference from achieving your targets and not doing the correct exercises.

If you arrive at the gym and are still unsure, then do not hesitate to ask a member of our friendly staff who will be more than happy to help. Additionally, the inclusive environment we have created enables members to talk and assist each other. You might need to work on your technique or have some support when lifting, don’t be afraid to ask a fellow member for help.

In the long run, having a more structured workout will lead to maximum efficiency. Once you have found your rhythm, you will see the benefits both physically and mentally as everything begins to fall into place.

Why Xercise4Less Gyms?

We are proud of our friendly staff and inclusive community in our gyms and welcome people from all backgrounds and experiences to join us. Whether you’ve never stepped foot into a gym before or are an experience gym goer, join the Xercise4Less community today and take those all-important first steps onto your health and fitness journey.

Our members find everything they need to reach their personal goals in regard to health and fitness from our friendly staff to dedicated Ladies Only gym zone, special Spin studio or group fitness classes including Les Mills workouts and also toning and conditioning.

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Boost Your Fitness This Spring

HIIT Battleropes
HIIT Battleropes

Get leaner, stronger and fitter at Xercise4Less Gyms

Use the opportunity of a new season and the lighter mornings and nights to push you closer to achieving your fitness goals. Also feel motivated by our latestpromotion to become a member at Xercise4Less Gyms. Pay only a fiver for your first month with £0 joining fee. Drop our latest promo code ‘5GYM’ into the checkout today to redeem.

Regardless of fitness aims, Xercise4Less Gyms have the equipment, facilities, group exercises classes and the supportive staff to help you achieve everything you want. Run towards your weight loss on our treadmills, build up muscles in the free weights zone and blitz your body fat in our motivating and fast-paced fitness classes.

Maximise our facilities to support your fitness journey and to push your gym workout routine to the next level.

Strengthening Exercises

Pay less this Spring

Now that we’re waving goodbye to the cold and dark winter nights, Spring will hopefully bring a bit more motivation and energy which will allow you to really focus on your health and wellbeing.

At Xercise4Less Gyms, we’re using the opportunity of the new season to offer all our new members an offer that they can’t resist. Become an Xercise4Less member and pay less. You’ll only pay £5 for your first month with £0 joining fee meaning you’ll save money this March and can start working towards your fitness goals instantly.

We offer members the choice of countless cardio machines, a free weights gym zone, several resistance machines and our unique combat zone including a full-size boxing ring and MMA ring. You’ll also have access to our facilities including spin studio, fitness studio and exclusive Ladies Only zones that allow our female members to work out in a smaller and more comfortable space.

Xercise4Less also deliver fun and functional group exercise classes if you’d prefer to workout with others and be motivated to smash your fitness goals by our expert instructors. Meet like-minded people with similar goals and build your social network as well as making great steps on your fitness journey.

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Join Xercise4Less Gyms today

What are you waiting for? Become a member at Xercise4Less today. Pay only £5 for your first month. With no hidden fees, you’ve got no excuse to not kickstart your fitness. 

Join online today. You won’t regret it!

Bodybuilding: 5 Tips To Sculpt Your Body

bodybuilding tips - form
bodybuilding tips - woman squat lift

Shape your body at Xercise4Less Gyms

If you are just beginning your bodybuilding journey, or want to dramatically change your physique through fitness, then we have some top tips to help you meet all your training goals here at Xercise4Less Gyms. These tips will help you a lot, but please, do not expect instant results. Muscle mass naturally develops at a slow rate, so it is important to have patience, keep focused and stick to your regimes. The results will come!

1. Learn the correct form

It is highly tempting to start with higher weights in the quest for faster results. Whilst this may be a devilish temptation, it is one you must refrain from giving in to. On one hand, you know your own body better than anyone, but also you must be aware of your limitations and know that the key to success is to build muscle at a gradual rate. The best practice for bodybuilding is to start with lower weights, learning the correct form of each exercise you participate in. Having the correct form is vital as you will begin to build the muscle you want to achieve, as well as lessening the risk of potential injury or discomfort by having a poor technique.

If you are unsure on the correct form, feel free to speak to our friendly staff for advice, or have a word with people in the gym. There will be someone who has been in your position, and able to guide you through any exercise you are unsure of. Our friendly, inclusive environment means we are open to all levels of fitness with a culture you can grow in and broaden your social network through fitness.

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bodybuilding tips - form

2. Have a program and stick to it

Having a plan and being able to implement it into your workout is arguably the most critical part of attending the gym. Before you come and start your session, you must know what it is you want to achieve and how you intend on going about doing it. You should not just turn up to the gym and do whatever you see fit at that given moment. If you come with this attitude then you are likely to make elementary mistakes, hampering your bodybuilding progress and even risk injuring yourself in the process.

Your bodybuilding program should include the exact exercises you need to do to achieve your results, the number of sets and reps and what you will do in each session. Like with learning the correct form, there will always be a member of staff of an advanced bodybuilding member on hand to give you any support or answer questions you may have.

3. Be in a caloric surplus

The simple principle of building muscle from a nutritional perspective is to eat more calories than you burn. The best way to achieve accurate results is to find out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and measure that according to how active you are. If you have a passive job, or one where you are sat down for most of your day then you will need to take on board fewer calories than someone who has a more active profession. On a typical day you should be looking to have four or five meals, eating every three to four hours. Avoid being hungry as it could restrict or hamper your training session.

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4. Gradually increase the weights

Once you have become comfortable with your program, it is then advisable to lift the intensity by increasing the weights. This should be done periodically, giving yourself small but realistic targets to achieve the next phase of your bodybuilding journey. Make a note of how much you are able to lift on each exercise you complete, and slightly increase the weight every couple of weeks. This will help you to improve your strength and lead to muscle gains, putting you well on track to smash your fitness targets.

5. Rest and recover

There is no shame in having a day off or a rest day when you are bodybuilding. You do not have to hammer the weights every single day, and your body needs time to repair. One of the best ways to recover is by getting plenty of sleep on a night. A rough guide would be to try and get around 8 hours of sleep per night. You should also recover by adapting your lifestyle to suit your training, avoiding smoking, alcohol and other typically unhealthy habits. You will find a routine that best suits you, fitting in the gym around work and family life can be difficult, but in order to gain the optimum results you will have to make some sacrifices along the way.

Why Xercise4Less Gyms?

We are proud of our friendly staff and inclusive community in our gyms and welcome people from all backgrounds and experiences to join us. Whether you’ve never stepped foot into a gym before or are an experience gym goer, join the Xercise4Less community today and take those all-important first steps onto your health and fitness journey.

Our members find everything they need to reach their personal goals in regard to health and fitness from our friendly staff to dedicated Ladies Only gym zone, special Spin studio or group fitness classes including Les Mills workouts and also toning and conditioning.

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Bodybuilding: The Mental And Physical Benefits

Bodybuilding - main
Bodybuilding - woman lifting

An introduction to bodybuilding

There is often a negative stigma surrounding body building, and those who dedicate their lives to improving their fitness through perceived extreme exercise. However, this is not necessarily the case. Bodybuilding is a great way to keep yourself balanced, giving your body proportion, shaping and helping general fitness. Not only does body building improve your physical condition, it can also lead to mental health benefits, giving you a clearer state of mind thanks to weight training and aerobic exercise. Having a well-balanced, proportioned body can contribute to heightened health, lessening the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels. Bodybuilding captures all your fitness goals by giving you the physical improvements, boosting your state of mind and also ensuring you remain on the ball with your diet to supplement all your hard work in the gym.

Improve your physical condition

First and foremost, the main benefit of bodybuilding is to enhance your physical condition through exceptional fitness and dedication. This has a healthy impact on your bones and joints, giving you the necessary balance across your body in order to remain strong and flexible. As you begin to embark on your bodybuilding journey, you will notice a dramatic increase in muscle, strength and endurance – but this is a slow process and you will have to remain patient. Results simply do not happen overnight and training all areas of your body is essential to maintaining a balanced physique.

At your local Xercise4Less gym we have a wide range of fitness equipment for you to build the body you want. This spans from cardio through to resistance and TRX, ensuring you have all the tools you could possibly need to get the most from your workout. Our dedicated training zones are extremely spacious, so you will not have to wait to get on your favourite piece of equipment.

If you’re looking to add strength and muscle mass, the weight and resistance area provides the ideal environment for you to achieve those goals. Additionally, you will also need to get your cardio sessions in and we have the variety of equipment to make your training both fun and functional.

When participating in physical exercise, your body releases Endorphin. This works to influence your mood, helping you to sleep better, reduce fatigue and relieve any psychological tension or stress.

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Bodybuilding - triceps

Boost your mental health through balanced fitness

Having a balanced physical condition will help you to become more aligned with yourself and give you a mental boost to clear your head and make sure you keep your focus and determination to meet all your fitness requirements. Bodybuilding is certainly not an easy process, and you must maintain the desire to succeed and set yourself small, attainable targets to remain on track.

Weight training and aerobic exercise can boost our mind and cognitive wellbeing. Going to the gym can relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Seeing real results can improve your mood and give you a sense of satisfaction to further progress and develop through fitness. Bodybuilding can enhance your self-esteem and confidence by giving you a more positive outlook on your own image. This will happen through the result of changes in your body such as weight loss, feeling your body becoming leaner, stronger and more flexible.

Furthermore, bodybuilding does not just happen in the gym. You can take your experiences from fitness into your daily activities. For example, it can help you to make better decisions and cope with negative emotions more rationally, enabling you to see positives or find solutions.

Bodybuilding - pull ups

How nutrition can give you a helping hand

While the majority of the hard yards are put in during your fitness sessions in the gym, it is impossible to ignore the importance of your nutrition – not just when bodybuilding – but in everyday life. Healthy nutrition and rest are vitally important when bodybuilding as the foods you eat can play havoc with your thinking and your memory. The fuel you intake can influence how your brain and mind function.

It is advisable to eat foods which are rich in antioxidants as they can benefit your focus and memory. As you can imagine, foods such as fruit and veg are ideal for bodybuilding, supplying you with glucose to keep your energy levels up. Lean meat, poultry, potatoes, cheese and fish are also good sources of nutrition to help your bodybuilding journey. In terms of what you should drink, water is as good as anything as it is crucial for a healthy body and mind. Avoid drinking alcohol if possible. Staying hydrated provides so many health benefits and this is equally as important as what you eat.

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Conclusion

All elements of fitness are important to bodybuilding but having a healthy body and healthy mind will serve you well for the rest of your days. Weight training and aerobic exercise deliver both strength and energy, giving you the best possible chance of boosting your self-esteem and giving you the motivation to further your fitness. With a balanced level of fitness, you will be fully in control of your life, mind and body.

Why Xercise4Less Gyms?

We are proud of our friendly staff and inclusive community in our gyms and welcome people from all backgrounds and experiences to join us. Whether you’ve never stepped foot into a gym before or are an experience gym goer, join the Xercise4Less community today and take those all-important first steps onto your health and fitness journey.

Our members find everything they need to reach their personal goals in regard to health and fitness from our friendly staff to dedicated Ladies Only gym zone, special Spin studio or group fitness classes including Les Mills workouts and also toning and conditioning.

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Spring Into Fitness | Join Now For A Tenner

Spring Fitness - Main
Spring Fitness - Main

Kickstart your fitness for just £10

Spring into fitness at Xercise4Less Gyms with our latest membership offer. Join us today to get your first month for £10 with zero joining fees. Take advantage of this offer by boosting your fitness and smashing your training goals in the new season.

To get started, simply enter promo code ‘10FM’ to activate your membership and get yourself down to your local Xercise4Less gym.

Tailor your fitness workouts at Xercise4Less

Here at Xercise4Less, we provide you with a wide range of fitness and exercise equipment to allow you to work out with all the facilities you could need to optimise your training session. Also, a friendly, inclusive environment makes us open to all. Whether you are a new starter, returning from an injury or time away from the gym, or a serial fitness buff, we are the place for you.

Aside from exceptional fitness equipment, we also deliver fun and functional fitness classes if you prefer to target specific areas of fitness or you want to participate in group exercises, meeting like-minded people with similar objectives to build-up your social network as well as making great strides along your fitness journey.

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Target your fitness with specific training zones

Our gyms feature a range of zones, splitting up the type of workouts you can do without the place feeling cluttered. Ladies can work out in our ladies only section, giving you an area to zone out from the crowds and really focus on your fitness. A full-length boxing ring and MMA cage offer the ability for those interested in combat to take out their frustrations on the punchbag, pads or even spar with a friend.

10FM Promo - Cardio

Member Benefits: Train with us across the country

With over 50 gyms across our estate, you can join your local Xercise4Less and be able to use your membership nationwide. Whether you are going away for the weekend, away on business and want a workout after a stressful day, or even if you relocate you can use any one of our gyms.

10FM Promo - Resistance

Why wait to kickstart your spring fitness? Join today at the click of a button. Whatever your fitness needs, we will help you reach your goals along your fitness journey. 

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Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2020 – Sophia Ellis

Woman using Battle Ropes

Overcoming anorexia and bulimia

People face mental battles that some of us have no idea about. Sophia Ellis was one of those people – she was being consumed daily by her eating disorder and it was getting the better of her. Not only was she dealing with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and EDNOS, but she was struggling with depression. Understandably, all of this was getting on top of her. 

Sophia, 23, somehow pulled herself out of this deep depression and after joining Xercise4Less Southend, fell in love with fitness and became interested in powerlifting. 

Surviving a physical and mental health scare

When Sophia was at her lowest, she was throwing up more that 14 times a day and had regular scary and suicidal thoughts. She was terrified of food and sometimes even binged and purged until she passed out. She knew this period of her life wasn’t good but just couldn’t get herself out of this damaging mindset. Food made her anxious and her mind sometimes would tell her not to eat certain foods and that she didn’t deserve to eat them.

“I was consumed by my eating disorder. Isolated, lonely and felt worthless. I hated having the illness but couldn’t see a life without it. I was destroying myself and disgusted with who I was turning into. It made me feel dead inside, like I was in a constant destructive cycle that I couldn’t get out of.”

This was when Sophia knew that she needed to change something in her life. She went to her GP as she started passing out and experiencing heart problems and eventually ended up in hospital. Sophie is the first to admit that being aware of your eating disorder and illness is the first step. In her opinion, it’s all about being patient with yourself and taking one day at a time

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Working on mental strength at Xercise4Less Southend

Once Sophia hit rock bottom, she wanted to work on becoming healthy again. Not just for herself but for her friends and family too. She was aware that her eating disorder and illness was having an impact on other people and wanted to work on it. She also knew it was getting a bit too much and wanted to do something about it. Sophia decided to join Xercise4Less Southend and starting taking the first positive steps on her personal fitness journey.  

“My brother designed my first training programme just to help me get out of my room but I ended up getting into weight training and eventually found a love for powerlifting and the rest is history! I used the free weights gym zone Xercise4Less Southend for my training sessions to help me prep for powerlifting competitions.”

Sophia’s biggest piece of advice to Xercise4Less members who are feeling similar to her – stop comparing yourself to others. You’re on your own journey so accept that, accept yourself and accept your body. Confidence comes through self care and self appreciation of yourself. 

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Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2020 – Mike Ryan

Man Lifting Barbell

Gaining confidence and motivation in the gym

After struggling to strap himself into his aeroplane seat on a flight, Mike Ryan felt like he had hit rock bottom and realised that he needed to do something about. Mike, 37, had been training at the gym every day using the free weights zone in Manchester but still managed to gain excess weight. The weight gain wasn’t caused by a lack of activity but overeating and unhealthy eating habits which led him to pile on the pounds.

Naturally, this caused Mike to lose his motivation and confidence in himself but by taking his gym workouts to the next level, he was able to push himself out of his comfort zone and improve his general health and fitness.

Work on health and wellbeing

Mike’s self esteem hit rock bottom during this challenging time of his life. He was having trouble sleeping, was experiencing real discomfort and struggling with breathing. He wanted to work on improving this and feeling better about himself – not just for himself but for his children too.

Mike said:  “My children were my biggest motivation. I wanted to be able to play football with them and more importantly, be around long enough to see them grow up.”

Despite weight training for 1 hour a day, Mike was the first to admit that he wasn’t really pushing himself out of his comfort zone. Whilst he was in the gym, he would spend time on his phone scrolling through social media and not really take his training seriously.  However, the biggest issue of all of was Mike’s diet. Because Mike was spending an hour lifting weights in the free weights gym zone in Manchester, he’d treat himself to a takeaway afterwards. Sometimes even having 4-5 takeaways a week and sometimes even twice a day. By adjusting his diet and taking his nutrition a lot more seriously, he began to notice positive changes to his life.  

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Transforming fitness at Xercise4Less Manchester

Seen as Mike was finding himself stuck in a bit of a rut, he wanted to mix things up. He eventually signed up for one of our Transformation Camps and because he was getting bored of his typical training, he thought it might help him to make positive changes to his body. 

“The camps looked fun and I wasn’t really seeing the changes I was hoping for by training on my own. I gave my 8 week Transformation Camp not only hard work when in the gym but I was really watching what I was eating. It wasn’t long until I started to see changes in my body and was feeling better and sleeping better.”

Mike was also able to push himself harder in the training sessions compared to when he started as his fitness level and stamina was improving. When he started to see the numbers of the tape measure going down, this was the biggest motivation of all and kept him focused on his end fitness goal. Mike has only positive things to say about Transformation Camps at Xercise4Less following his experience.

“I know gyms can be intimidating places but remember, nobody is watching at you. We’re all there for the same reason, same goal – to be better than we were yesterday. I’d always encourage regular members to help others too. If you see someone new and unsure of what to do – be nice, help them, even if it’s just a smile or a nod of approval, it goes a long way. Remember, we were all newbies once.”

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