How to choose a Level 2 Fitness Instructor course: my Experience with Lifetime Training

How to choose a Level 2 Fitness Instructor course: my Experience with Lifetime Training

Last year I qualified as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor with Lifetime Training. I did this as part of the FitEx Award, which also includes 2 Les Mills modules.

There seems to be a rise in people looking to take fitness qualifications, either to move into an active role within the fitness industry or to simply improve their own knowledge. (Are you the former or the latter? Let me know in the comments section!) With this, lots of people have questions about what the courses entail, how you can prepare for them and what they qualify you to do upon completion.

Especially since course providers aren’t generally very forthcoming with the intricate details of their courses, it makes it really hard to compare options. So, I’m sharing my experience with Lifetime Training in the hope it might give you a little insight...

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Can Magnesium Spray Enhance Your Recovery?

Can Magnesium Spray Enhance Your Recovery?

I’ve tried out a lot of products in the past that are said to aid muscle recovery and reduce soreness, from bath soaks to arnica creams. None of them were noticeably effective at all, and in any instances where I detected a negligible difference in my recovery, I could never say with any kind of certainty that my recovery was down to a single product; it could just as likely have been due to eating better or getting more sleep.

Except for one.

But first, here's what you need to know about transdermal supplementation....

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The Need-To-Know on Your Pelvic Floor + How Elvie Helps You To Do Your Kegels

The Need-To-Know on Your Pelvic Floor + How Elvie Helps You To Do Your Kegels

Ladies, do you do pelvic floor exercises? 

Honestly?

I’m sure, like me, you’re aware of how important they are. Yet, also like me, when it comes to training these muscles, you’ll probably remember that they exist every fortnight or so, and exercise them by squeezing ‘down there’ how ever many times you deem useful (10, 15, 20 times?) before getting distracted by something else.

Needless to say, there are lots of things wrong with training your pelvic floor muscles in this way:  
* You don’t really know if you are squeezing the muscles correctly  
* You aren’t sure if you are squeezing for long enough, hard enough, or a many times as you should  
* You don’t have any way to measure your progress  
* It’s boring as hell, making it very easy to become distracted

Thankfully, some very clever ladies out there have designed a sleek little gadget and app called Elvie to overcome all of these problems.

But first, here's why doing kegels is important in the first place...

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The Complete Guide to Heart Rate Training

The Complete Guide to Heart Rate Training

Your heart rate (HR) is a useful measure of your activity level and training intensity when exercising. When your exercise intensity increases, your heart rate also increases to match the increased rate of energy expenditure and oxygen uptake. 

Heart rate can be expressed as the absolute number of beats per minute (bpm) or as a percentage of your maximum heart rate (% HRmax). 

Knowing your heart rate in bpm at any point in time may not be a very useful measure on it’s own. So, to put it in context, it’s a good idea to have some ideas of where you sit across other heart rate measures...

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Speedflex Review + The Need-To-Know On Eccentric Muscle Contractions

Speedflex Review + The Need-To-Know On Eccentric Muscle Contractions

I love the concept of heart rate training (more on that coming soon!) and since I tried Orangetheory last year, I’ve been on the look out for more fitness studios that offer heart rate training.

One such place is Speedflex. However, while I was drawn to this studio by my fascination with heart rate monitoring, I found that Speedflex had some far more unique qualities to be discovered...

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My Training Programme

My Training Programme

A lot of you have asked me about how I train when I’m in the gym, so I wanted to give you a look at a training programme that has been working really well for me since January. 

I also wanted to give you a breakdown of why I do what I do, so that you understand the choices that I have made in my training, and the principles that I have applied. Basically, I didn’t want to share my training programme without making it as useful to you as possible.

I designed this training programme based on my personal strengths and weaknesses, my personal goals, and the way that my body responds best to training. If you were to try this programme, you may not enjoy it as much as I do, or see the same results that I have done. 

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Are Fitness + Diet DNA Tests Worth The Investment?

Are Fitness + Diet DNA Tests Worth The Investment?

When I find heard that DNA fitness and diet testing had emerged on the consumer market, I was 100% fascinated. I loved the concept of a plan based on my unique DNA. 

As you will likely have read, I have taken tests based on blood samples, but unlike DNA, these are fluid and changeable, where your DNA is fixed. I like this idea and it made me think that DNA testing could be more useful in the long-term. 

I was keen to know what my DNA could tell me, and whether it could help me further improve my health through fitness and diet. 

Has this feeling stuck around after speaking to some experts and trying a couple of DNA fitness tests for myself? Read on to find out...

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Orangetheory Review: Heart Rate Monitored Metabolic Workout

Natalie-Orangetheory-Workout

Orangetheory is a workout that very explicitly fuses fitness and science to create an amazing exercise experience.

When I first heard about Orangetheory, it was as if my prayers had been answered.

I really love the idea of monitoring my heart rate, but it’s something that I think requires a little guidance from a professional in order to use the information that you’re fed to its full potential.

I’m so glad that I’ve found a fitness concept and dedicated studios to do the hard work for me.

Well, not all the hard work...

Orangetheory-Heart-Rate-Monitor
Orangetheory-Heart-Rate-Zone-Screen

The Orangetheory Concept

Orangetheory® was developed in the US by Ellen Latham and is a high-energy, interval training based group training class.

What’s particularly unique about it, besides the super sleek, state-of-the-art studio and equipment, is that it is a heart rate monitored session.

During the workout, you wear a chest strap with a heart rate monitor. Your heart rate, along with everyone else’s in the class, is displayed on screens in the studio, which tell you your heart rate, % of max heart rate, and colour indicates which heart rate zone you are working in. You can also see an estimate of calories burned.

Getting such immediate, visual, data-driven feedback on your workout is incredibly motivating.

The session aims to take your heart rate to a target zone - the Orange Zone - to stimulate metabolism.

Here’s how it works:

“Backed by the science of [excess] post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), our heart-rate monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy. The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning and extra fat and calorie burn for up to 36 hours after your workout!”

Orangetheory-Islington-Studio-David-Lloyd
Orangetheory-Islington-Studio-David-Lloyd

The Orangetheory Workouts

Each workout is divided into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training.

The workout that I did alternated between time on a treadmill (one of the few treadmill sessions in my entire life that I have enjoyed) and resistance training using a mixture of freeweights, TRX and bodyweight. There was also an option to use the rowing machines (added incentive: David Lloyd clubs use the WaterRowers, which are a dream!).

All classes on a given day will be the same workout. However, they change from day to day in terms of what equipment is used, what exercises are performed, and what the split between cardio and resistance is.

The studio doesn’t advertise what focus any of the classes are scheduled to take. This prevents people from only booking on to classes that they favourite and training in ways that they are probably already pretty used to (something that I would most likely be entirely guilty of).

Instead, the Orangetheory trainers want people to benefit from all-round fitness training.

Orangetheory-Polar-HRM-Report

My Verdict

I absolutely love Orangetheory.

My only tiny criticism is that without undergoing lab testing, calculations of your max heart rate, and therefore heart rate zones, can’t be 100% accurate. Here, they are based on a standard formula. But, taking all of the awesomeness of this workout into account, it’s damn close enough!

The concept of a heart-rate monitored group workout is brilliant. I love getting immediate, genuinely useful feedback based on actual data. It’s a great motivator during class, and enables the trainer to respond to you more personally, too.

During class, there are lots of names on the board, but it doesn’t matter. Your heart rate zones won’t be the same as anyone else’s, so the only person that you’re competing against is yourself.

It’s so easy to become completely immersed in the experience of the class.

It’s great that the workout design is based around the physiological theory of EPOC. It makes the sessions a brilliant choice if you’re looking to lose weight.

I’m not looking to lose weight, so the instructor estimating how many calories I was going to burn post-workout was slightly terrifying (I struggle to eat enough calories anyway!).

However, knowing that this was due to pushing myself into higher heart rate zones was thrilling. My goals are to really improve my aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and this workout gives me a very visible and stimulating structure with which to do that.

I also like that I was emailed a report following the session, so that I can also compare data across classes and aim for improvements.

I wish that I had a studio closer to where I live or work so that I could go more often!

David-Lloyd-Orangetheory-Studio

Where To Find Orangetheory

I attended a class at David Lloyd’s Islington Orangetheory studio. There are also studios in Aldgate, Enfield and Winchester.

What're your thoughts on Orangetheory?

ClassPass - Explore London's best fitness studios

ClassPass-London-Studio-Map

Exploring London’s Fitness Scene with a ClassPass Membership

For those of you that don’t know, I have just moved to London (after going between Cambridge and London and pretty much living out of a suitcase for a few months). I’m so excited to finally be here permanently, and even more excited to use ClassPass to discover my local fitness hotspots.

ClassPass is a monthly fitness membership that allows you to experience a diverse range of workouts across a network of beautiful, boutique partner studios in participating cities.

ClassPass only launched in London in March, but knowing that they already successfully operate in a multitude of U.S. cities, I was absolutely thrilled to jump on board right away to start exploring .

ClassPass London Studios + Classes

There are thousands of classes available to ClassPass members, including cycling, pilates, yoga, strength training, dance, martial arts, and more. There are outdoor classes, indoor classes, and they are spread all over the city.

I’ve noticed that there’s a large number of yoga and pilates studios and classes, especially, from well-known studios such as TriYoga and TenPilates, to smaller centres with more of a community feel.

There are also some cult studios such a FRAME, 1Rebel and BOOM Cycle that have joined the diverse ClassPass network.

Honestly, there is so much variety and such an incredible quantity of classes available every single day that I usually don’t even know where to start when I log in to book onto some sessions!

I really like the feature on the site that allows you to ‘favourite’ particular studios. I have marked the ones that are closest to me and that I’m particularly keen to try out.

New studios and classes are also being added on a frequent basis so I’m constantly keeping my eyes peeled for exciting email alerts.

ClassPass-Studio-Favourites

How ClassPass Works

As a ClassPass member, you have the freedom to take as many classes as you want per month. However, each studio in the ClassPass network can be visited a maximum of 3 times per month under the ClassPass membership. I think this is a brilliant idea, so that you can get a feel for a studio by taking alternative classes or you can return to your favourites, but you are also compelled to keep variety and excitement in your workout schedule, which is what ClassPass is all about!

It’s so easy to book, even when you’re on the go. The ClassPass website is really well optimised for mobile although I’d love to see an app launched in the near future.
Edit: My wish has been granted; the ClassPass iOS app has landed in London.

Checking in at classes is super easy, too. There are no print outs or vouchers to show, but it’s a good idea to take a photo ID.

If need be, you can cancel your ClassPass membership at any time, or even put it on hold for a month.

Sign Up for a ClassPass Fitness Membership

ClassPass membership is available for just £89 a month - that’s generally cheaper than a membership to a single boutique studio.

Even better, if and when you’re ready to commit, you can sign-up for 3 months for £69 a month or 6 months for £59 a month!

The link below is your invitation to join ClassPass, go ahead and check it out!
Click here for a ClassPass Fitness Membership

If you haven’t yet started your membership, what studios and classes would you be keen to try?If you’re already in the ClassPass club, what are your favourites?

I’ll be doing my best to keep you updated on the best classes that I visit during my membership!