Wednesday 18 January 2017

Shake It Off: Brush Away January Blues With These Awesome Fitness Classes

We all started the year filled with ambition, drive and a determination to get fit and healthy, but as the weeks progress many people get swept up in other commitments; a huge project at work, helping your children with school stuff and starting new household projects. I'm not saying that you should train like an Olympian, but in the early weeks of a new exercise regime it's vital that you create good, bankable habits as it takes around nine weeks for your mind and body to get fully used to a change of routine.

fitness motivation by Mrs Bishop

At the end of last year I started seeing a personal trainer, and decided to start working out in a gym regularly - I didn't want to wait for the New Year to start this new regime as I believe in starting today if it will help you to achieve your goals and dreams. 

Don't put off to tomorrow what you can do today! 

This meant that by the New Year I was already 12 weeks into my new exercise regime, and past that 9-week hurdle. It had become my routine and I went into 2017 with this new "habit" - a healthy one that was already proving its physical and mental benefits to me. 

I do understand however that working out in a gym or hiring a personal trainer really isn't for everyone - it is costly, and pounding a treadmill or lifting weights won't be fun for everyone. So here are some ideas of alternative exercises you could build easily into your weekly routine...

Flickr Photo Credit: HAMZA BUTT



Take the plunge and try something new with a range of yogic practices including Hatha, Visana, Ashtanga, Bikram and even Hot Yoga! A friendly, expert instructor will guide you through flowing postures, or poses while you focus on your breathing. Once taught in only the most sacred of spaces, Yoga is now incredibly common with classes being held globally so it's perfectly normal to find sunrise, or sunset Yoga sessions being held before and after the daily commute. Yoga is excellent for both our mental, physical and emotional health as it requires you to empty your mind of extraneous thought, focusing only on the movements your body is making, the voice of your instructor and the constant inhalation and exhalation of your breath. There are some great yoga classes out there - there are even classes that can be done with pets!! Dog Yoga, whatever next?! Or if you're a new mum, or have small children it's possible to attend a relaxed, music and story led baby, or toddler yoga session that incorporates kids seamlessly and safely into sessions.

Flickr Photo Credit:Yukiko Matsuoka



No one said that cycling needs to be a solo activity and by joining a local cycling club, or group you’re far more likely to continue. Biking, be it mountain, road, track or trail is a fantastic way of getting fresh air, exploring your surroundings and socialising through exercise. Many clubs also have bikes for rent, or basic gear so don't feel you have to go splashing the cash straight away! However, please be aware that if you are going to cycle in public it may be worth taking a proficiency course first, as this will give you a thorough grounding in the numerous hand signals cyclists use when communicating with other road users. Passing a test should also reduce the chances of accidents so you're less likely to have new bicycle claims on your insurance plan. Biking also makes you much calmer, happier and relaxed as research carried out at regular cycling sessions showed that cycling lowered participants stress levels.

Flickr Photo Credit: Melissa Dooley

ballet dancer


If you loved dancing as a child but outgrew it as the years went by, then adult beginners or intermediate ballet class might be just the ticket! American studies have shown that Ballet dancers work as hard, if not harder than American football players and it's not hard to see why. Ballet is not just a physical discipline, it requires mental preparation, an excellent memory and ear for music as the classical pieces that accompany dances are initially quite complex to understand. Do you suffer from weak ankles? Bad posture? Or lazy arms? Ballet is designed to tone every area of muscle, honing in on any fat that can be stripped away which is why professional dancers are incredibly strong but slender at the same time. When dancing, you're also giving your brain a workout too as even basic choreography contains a few steps, different feet positions and, of course, French words to memorise like arabesque, pliƩ, and pirouette. Dance shows are also held regularly so if you're feeling brave why not go ahead and sign up?

Flickr Photo Credit:


A mix of Muay-Thai, Karate and Khmer Boxing, Kickboxing is an extremely active high-impact form of exercise that’ll definitely blow those January cobwebs away! Due to the fast, furious nature of the sport, Kickboxing is a highly effective workout which melts fat very quickly, while improving your strength, speed, and stamina. Kickboxing classes are held all over the world, are for both men and women, and typically a single session burns off around 750 calories. However, if you add in warm-ups, drills, and jump rope reps you could burn almost 1000! The sport tones the whole body but mainly focuses on the muscles around the stomach which is where stubborn belly fat also lies. By regularly engaging your core in this manner, not only will you slim down quicker but you'll improve your mental reflexes, reaction times and speed up your thinking process simply to avoid being hit!

On a personal note, as part of my weekly personal training sessions we do a boxing routine - and it is by far my favourite part of the workout. It is so fun, exhilarating and an absolutely brilliant stress reliever! It's great not only for burning calories but an excellent way to improve your coordination and to give your brain a workout too - remembering the combinations of moves and reacting to your trainers commands take plenty of brain power. 

Trust me when I tell you that there is a form of exercise out there for you. It took me 30 years to find mine, but I did in the end - and you can too - think outside the box, and you never know what new love you might discover...

Pole dancing, Crossfit, a running group, fencing, squash, a netball team, swimming, rowing, hiking, Nordic walking, roller derby...there will be something you'll love - so do some digging locally and take the plunge!

Happy exercising folks! 

Mrs B