Exercise at Home for Your Mental Health

Woman Stretching on Yoga Mat
Woman Stretching on Yoga Mat

Exercise is Essential for Your Mental Health

Before we had to close our gyms under Government instruction, you may have been visiting the gym on a regular basis to help you move closer your fitness goals. Whilst you were doing this, it had a very positive impact on your mental health without you even realising it. Regular exercise works wonders for your wellbeing and mental strength. Now that our gyms are temporarily closed, try to remain focused on your fitness and include regular exercise into your daily routine to help you get feel happier and healthier.

Optimising Sleep Blog - Home Exercise

Establishing an Exercise Routine At Home

Self-isolation can be hard but something that will help you get through is establishing a daily or weekly routine. If you usually head to the gym first thing in a morning, still wake up early and do what you can from home. Similarly, if you’re a night owl, get that workout in just before winding down for the evening.

Something as simple as this can work wonders for your mental health because you’re still doing something productive regularly whether you workout for 15 minutes or an hour. Once your workout is over, endorphins will start flowing around your body and you’ll feel much more positive and uplifted. At times, especially when you feel stuck at home, it can be difficult to motivate yourself but remind yourself how good you’ll feel afterwards to give yourself the extra boost that you need.

Whilst you’re unable to use our equipment and facilities, don’t let that you push you backwards and reverse any progress and hard work. Try not to get too caught up in what you should be or could be doing, instead, make the most of the extra time you’ve got at home now. This could be doing a circuit workout in your living room, an upper body routine in your garden or going outside for a run for your one form of outdoor daily exercise. Every bit of exercise you’re doing at home will positively impact your mental health.

Dumbbells at Home Equipment

How Exercise Can Help Your Mental Health

Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, you may experience some high days and some low days but one thing that you can do every day to make you feel better is moving your body. As soon as you start exercising, you’ll stop worrying about the negatives and will start to boost your overall mood as you focus on your next movement or getting through the workout. You’ll start to boost your mental strength as well as your physical strength so that the next time you do experience low mood or you’re lacking motivation, you’ll know to turn to exercise to make yourself feel better.

Try not to worry about what others are doing around you; you know yourself and your abilities so focus on that and follow exercise routines that will help you feel healthy and happy. Including regular exercise in your daily routine will help you relieve stress, improve your sleep and prevent the flow of worries and negative thoughts.

Exercise at Home to Suit You and Your Goals

Do you remember why you joined our gyms in the first place? Whether that was to help you lose weight, build up strength and muscle, tone and condition or have a positive impact on your mental health, you can still do that at home whilst our gyms are temporarily closed.

You’re not going to cancel out any of that hard work if you continue to exercise at home whether it’s low or high intensity. We understand how important your fitness journey is to you and that’s why we’ve created a wide range of @Home Workouts for different fitness abilities and fitness goals so that everyone can focus on their physical and mental health at home.

Use this time to try something new a try like Stretch or Balance or continue to follow your typical gym routine with Push, Pull and Full Body. Continue to exercise, establish a positive routine, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you when we re-open.

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.

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

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.

Cardio Fitness: Get Your Heart Pumping

Cardio Overview - Main
Cardio Overview - Main

Blast belly fat and improve your fitness with cardio exercise

Cardio training is a great way to boost your physical condition, enabling you to eliminate belly fat, improve your general fitness and the aerobic nature of the exercise also boosts the heart and respiratory rate. Furthermore, cardio increases the blood and oxygen flow throughout the body for a healthier you.

Having a healthier lifestyle can lead to a lot of physical and mental perks. Cardio fitness works to lower your blood pressure, help you to control your weight and even improve your quality of sleep. Here at Xercise4Less Gyms, we have dedicated cardio zones for you to enjoy your fun and functional fitness sessions.

Cardio Overview - Rowing Machine

Beginning your cardio journey with Xercise4Less Gyms

If you are a beginner or a newcomer to one of our friendly, inclusive gyms, we recommend that you start your fitness journey at a slow pace, setting your targets at an attainable and realistic level. For example, you might begin by walking for five minutes on the treadmill, gradually increasing the speed, time or incline.

Cycling and elliptical training is also a sure-fire way to enhance your cardiovascular fitness. These are activities which increase your breathing and your heart rate, which will lead to physical benefits the more you do it. Again, it is important to start at a slow pace, so you do not overburden yourself, running the risk of causing injury or discomfort.

Cardio Overview - Treadmill

Develop your cardio fitness program

Breaking down your session could be a more beneficial way of noticing visible results by setting yourself small targets. The three stages of your workout could be comprised of: a warm-up, main component and a cool-down.

The warm-up is an important part of your workout. Gradually ramp up your cardiovascular system and increase blood flow to your muscles. This can be done by performing a low-intensity version of your chosen activity. So, if you are planning on walking at a brisk pace, then warm up by walking slowly to allow your body to acclimatise to your fitness session.

The main component is to be taken at your own pace. Ideally, you should be performing 30 minutes of cardio per session to develop your aerobic capacity. This will increase your heart rate, breathing and muscular endurance.

Lastly, a cool-down offers your body the chance to recover following your exertions. A slow walk would be an ideal cool-down exercise followed by stretches to allow your heart rate and muscles to return to their normal state.

Cardio Overview - X Trainer

Get your heart pumping with Xercise4Less Gyms

With a dedicated cardio zone and high-quality fitness in each of our gyms, we have the machinery for you to get your heart pumping and get a sweat on. If you would like to work out in a group environment, we also run a range of fitness classes to get you up to speed and meeting all your fitness needs and goals.

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.

 

The Benefits Of Mixed Martial Arts Training

Benefits of MMA training - combat
Benefits of MMA training - main

The physical benefits of MMA fitness

Want to improve your fitness through combat? Xercise4Less gyms feature a dedicated combat zone with a boxing ring and MMA cage. Combat training is one of the most intense workouts, designed to work every part of your body. Kick, punch and grapple to build up your legs, arms and core.

Giving your body a full workout will help to blast the calories, shed fat and improve your cardiovascular fitness to really get your heart pumping. Whether you are new to fitness, or a seasoned pro, MMA training caters for all needs and there is no limit on how hard you can push yourself through MMA fitness.

Benefits of MMA training - kicks

Improve your strength in the Xercise4Less combat zone

Step into the MMA cage at your local Xercise4Less Gyms to build-up your strength. Give your body a complete workout and focus your attention on all the key muscle groups. Combining the explosive power of boxing and kickboxing with the enduring strength needed for grappling make MMA training a key component for building your functional strength.

Benefits of MMA training - sparring

Clear your head with MMA fitness

Due to the intense nature of combat training, and specifically MMA training, you will need to implement all your focus into your exercise, giving you the full physical and mental benefits of this type of workout. For most people, combat training is stepping out of their comfort zone, which can be very challenging, but it can also be a great way to boost your self-esteem and confidence.

Regular exercise is a sure-fire way to release endorphins and reduce stress. Practicing an activity such as MMA on a regular basis is not only beneficial to your physical health, but for your mental health and wellbeing, too.

Build your social network through combat training

Whilst you can shadow a lot of MMA exercises, it is not the same as having a sparring partner or if you like, an opponent. Get one of your friends to join you in the octagon and don a pair of pads for you to kick and punch, working those muscle groups and improving your fitness. As well as delivering obvious physical benefits, MMA training can be a fun way of getting to meet new people in the gym. You can easily rotate the exercises between yourself and your partner, think of it as a rest break, ready to push yourself to the limit the next time you’re up!

If you feel comfortable enough to try contact exercises with your sparring partner, then grapple exercises are as effective as any for burning calories and giving you the physical workout you are craving.

Benefits of MMA training - combat

Why join Xercise4Less Gyms?

With a friendly, inclusive gym community, we’re suitable for people of all fitness levels. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve fitness or increase muscle, we have the equipment and facilities you need to achieve your goals.

Weight Loss Success Story – Debs Knight

Weight Loss Success Story - Debs Knight
Weight Loss Success Story - Debs Knight

Tackling Snowdon made me climb my own fitness mountain

Losing weight can feel like you are at the bottom of the highest mountain and have no way of conquering the obstacle facing you. For Xercise4Less Rugby member Debs Knight, this was a literal realisation as it took for her to climb Mount Snowdon to realise she needed to begin her weight loss journey.

“I took part in a charity climb of Snowdon. I really struggled to complete it and had to keep stopping. People kept asking if I was alright as I was so out of breath.”

“I knew I had to do something to improve my fitness and general health.”

Improving fitness and health through Xercise4Less classes

Since taking on Snowdon, Debs has signed up to her local Xercise4Less gym and attended several classes to get herself on the right path and gradually begin to lose weight through fitness and exercise.

“The classes I go to are BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, Boxercise, Pilates and Zumba.”

All these classes help towards improving your cardiovascular fitness as well as burning significant calories. The classes are a great way for you to interact with like-minded members, going through similar journeys to you, and most of all, are friendly and inclusive in your membership.

Looking and feeling better

Over the course of a typical week, Debs attends the gym on numerous occasions in her battle to lose her target weight of 5-7 stone. Training in the Ladies only zone, using the treadmill, Debs has already found herself having more energy and her general health improving. Debs also attributes the gym to some other physical and mental benefits.

“Going to the gym helps me to clear my head, and that is one of the reasons I keep coming back. Group exercise has also helped me to lose weight.“

Great work, Debs!

Weight Loss Success Story – Chelsie Brown

Weight Loss Success Story - Chelsie Brown
Weight Loss Success Story - Chelsie Brown

Holiday photos were the turning point

We all work hard to pay for treats such as holidays, and Doncaster member Chelsie Brown is no different. Unfortunately for Chelsie, her holiday was overshadowed by feelings of insecurity and being extremely self-conscious of how she looked.

“I was incredibly self-conscious on holiday, and the photos reflected what I was worried about. I was upset about the shape of my body, and the wobbly bits that stood out on pictures.”

“Even though I never considered myself fat, I was always maintaining a size 12. I just saw the photos and I knew my diet and exercise had to change to bring me some confidence.”

Staying motivated with Xercise4Less Gyms

As a result of the holiday photos, Chelsie signed up to her local Xercise4Less gym where she has participated in group classes such as 15/15/15, Abs Blast and Legs, Bums and Tums as well as bootcamps to help kickstart her weight loss journey. This is something which Chelsie cites as the catalyst to her success.

“Seeing my progress through the bootcamp was a great motivator. By measuring and weighing myself every two weeks I knew I was doing a great job, even if sometimes it didn’t seem that way!”

“The group class leaders are fantastic and are always around to offer help and advice when needed.  Also, the message board is brilliant for keeping up to date with all the latest news.”

Chelsie’s brother and sister-in-law join in with the Bootcamps for additional support and motivation.

Seeing the results

Noticing the results makes a massive difference when it comes to a weight loss journey. Seeing visible differences can inspire you with confidence to push on and further achieve your goals or give you the satisfaction of being able to see the fruits of your labour. For Chelsie, seeing results was a milestone moment.

“Everybody is so complimentary and pleased for me since they can see my happier in my own skin. But best of all, dropping a dress size was the best feeling and seeing a slimmer and more toned body in smaller clothes just made me burst with pride, because my hard work did that!

Maintaining a new figure and a new home

Not only is Chelsie succeeding in the gym, she has also bought a new home. Obviously, this has taken up a lot of her time and effort, but she has still managed to attend the gym and continue her weight loss journey.

“I’m still working through it! After Christmas I got the keys to my new home which needs renovating. It’s very hard at the moment to find time to get to the gym. I’m doing my best to get to as many classes as possible, or weight training if it’s just for 30 minutes.”

“In addition, I plan to come back to the gym full force as soon as my house is finished, maybe another bootcamp!”

Keep up the great work, Chelsie!

Weight Loss Success Story – Tim Bell

Weight Loss Success Story - Tim Bell
Weight Loss Success Story - Tim Bell

Focusing fitness around shift patterns

Having mixed shift patterns can make going to the gym and getting into a workout routine very difficult. For Chesterfield member Tim Bell, he has to juggle his fitness journey around his changing work schedule.

“When I’m on the morning shift, I go straight to the gym after work. This means I tend to get home around 5:30pm, which is ideal as I still get a few hours with my family before bed.”

However, when Tim is on the later shift, he sees his training time reduced, meaning he does not attend the gym as often as he does when on the morning shift.

“On the late shift, I leave for work at 8:30am and don’t get home until 10:30pm. This makes it very hard as I don’t go to the gym as much as I do on the opposite shift.”

“When I’m on the late shift, I need to drag myself out of bed and get to the gym as early as possible.”

Balancing weekends off with family time

Even though Tim does not attend the gym as frequently as he would like when he is on the later shift, he still makes sure he gets his training done at the weekend.

“At weekends I get to the gym as early as possible. This means I have the rest of the day to go out with my wife and kids, or just spend time at home with them.”

Losing weight and maintaining that 'happy place'

Tim has been on his weight loss journey for a number of years, and he has had his ups and down during this process, but he is now in a place where he can consolidate and maintain a weight he is happy with.

“I’m 4 years in from where I started and have lost well over 3 stone in weight. I don’t lose as much these days, but my main focus is keeping the weight I have already lost off. I’m in a happy place with my weight.”

Staying focused and on track

It has not always been plain sailing for Tim, and he sometimes needs a reminder of how far he has come and the work he has put in place to get to this position.

“I stay focused by looking at how I used to be and seeing how I look now is all that it takes for me really. Seeing how far I have come and reminding myself I do not want to go back to that.”

Great work, Tim!

Weight Loss Success Story – Jodie Kissack

Weight Loss Success Story - Jodie Kissack
Weight Loss Success Story - Jodie Kissack

Losing weight to be more active for my son

The turning point to lose weight for Sheffield Hillsborough member Jodie Kissack came when she took her son to the funfair and was unable to accompany him down the Helter Skelter. This was the moment that kickstarted Jodie’s weight loss journey.

“When my son was at the top of the Helter Skelter and too scared to go down on his own, I couldn’t go down with him because I was too big.”

Setting an example to my family

Since then, Jodie has set herself a target of losing 5-7 stone and is well on her way to achieving this. Setting a good example to her family, as well as the obvious health reasons, she used her family as an additional source of motivation to lose the required weight.

“I wanted to set a good example to my family. They showed me great support and encouragement. “

Looking and feeling better through fitness

Enhancing your fitness and shedding the weight can have a positive on the way you feel about yourself, giving you confidence to wear different clothes, go to busier places and even improve your general self-esteem. For Jodie, she has found confidence through fitness and from being a regular visitor to her local Xercise4Less Gym.

“I look and feel better. At my biggest I could barely breathe and did not feel good about myself at all. Now I am more confident and able to feel better when I am exercising.”

Jodie used a range of fitness equipment during her training sessions, finding the stepper beneficial to losing weight and improving her cardiovascular fitness in the process. She also used free weights to tone up and give herself more definition once the weight began to come off.

Excellent progress, Jodie!

Weight Loss Success Story – Nicole Steele

nicole steele - before and after
nicole steele - before and after

Mixing up my workouts for more enjoyable training sessions

Setting yourself a target and planning for a weight loss journey is advisable, but it is still imperative to enjoy your fitness session. Sheffield Hillsborough member Nicole Steele varied her workouts to gain enjoyment alongside results.

“I switch up my exercise routines so they are new and exciting. I have also signed up for tough mudder so I had a different goal to aim for to keep me motivated.”

'I never want to go back to that'

Nicole’s inspiration to lose weight came from seeing pictures of herself, giving her the motivation to improve her fitness and wellbeing.

“I saw pictures of myself and realised how much weight I had actually put on. I wanted to change it. Looking at these old pictures now reminds me that I’ll never go back to that.”

Support from friendly, inclusive Xercise4Less Gyms

Whilst Nicole is not completely at her target weight, she is well on course to achieve her goals. Xercise4Less gyms have played a pivotal role in Nicole finding the confidence and belief she could succeed.

“I’ve still not reached my final goal, but every time I reach a mini target I’m always amazed that I’m actually doing it this time. What helped me a lot was in the gym, someone saw me performing an exercise wrong and helped me to correct it.”

Training in a gym where the environment is comfortable and friendly has helped Nicole a lot, especially by being able to train in the Ladies only gym zone.

Overcoming the hurdles

Nicole has tried to lose the weight in the past, but always found obstacles in the way, preventing her from being at her ideal weight. Junk food has been a particular stumbling block, but Nicole feels that this time she is managing to find a compromise which is helping her to enjoy an occasional treat.

“I’ve tried to lose weight and get healthy before, but I’ve never been able to stick to it and see proper results. I like junk food and I’ve not cut it out completely this time because that’s when I want to eat it more.”

Incredible progress, Nicole. Keep it up!

Weight Loss Success Story – Stacey Robertson

stacey robertson - before and after
stacey robertson - before and after

Old holiday pictures helped kick start my weight loss journey

Sheffield Hillsborough member Stacey Robertson used old holiday pictures as inspiration to begin her weight loss journey. Seeing older pictures made Stacey want to improve her fitness and burn calories to help transform her life. Changing her fitness through the gym has been challenging, but also extremely rewarding for Stacey.

“I kept looking at old holiday pictures and knew I had to change things to feel better about myself. It feels good when you reach targets, and amazing when you exceed them.”

Using Xercise4Less fitness classes to shed the pounds

Xercise4Less gyms offer an array of fitness classes to help get you on the way with bolstering your fitness. Stacey found HIIT, abs blast and 15/15/15 classes the most effective for weight loss. She also used dumbbells to help tone and turn excess fat into muscle. Over a period of time, Stacey gradually lost her target weight of 3-5 stone. 

Finding that inner motivation

Starting the process can often be the most difficult, finding motivation and strength to get through the early phase of your fitness journey. For Stacey, this was no different.

“When I first started, the aching and constant hunger made me feel like giving up. I was consuming around 3000 calories per day and my BMR is only 1500. This was the hardest part for me.”

Making sacrifices to achieve results

Anyone embarking on a weight loss journey needs to make sacrifices. Whether it is giving up certain foods, drinking or making the necessary changes to your lifestyle. Stacey got herself out of the old routine of comfort eating to supplement the hard work she was putting in the gym.

“I needed to give up comfort eating. I was eating when I was happy and sad. Sometimes you don’t want to turn to a salad or something healthy in the evening. You just want comforting carbs like chips or pizza.”

As with any change in lifestyle or diet, adaptations have to be made. Stacey may have found it difficult in the beginning, but once she got herself acclimatised with her new fitness regime, she began to notice the benefits.

“I got new-found energy and no longer felt sluggish or tired after eating.”

Great work, Stacey!