Fit for life!

Great informative blogs from our own health and fitness experts including Personal Trainers, Physiotherapists and nutritional experts on simple ways to train, eat well and look after your bodies for a more active and healthier lifestyle!


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Time is getting closer for us re-opening (maybe July at the best, fingers crossed) all unknown for everyone and very much a waiting game.

At Park Club, we have been busy preparing for post Covid 19 and of upmost making sure we can open safely for members and the team. We are fortunate in most sites to have a lot of open spaces, of which we will need to utilise to ensure adequate distancing is in place.

We are still working closely with UK Active and will be following guidance from the Government and Public Health England.

We have/are doing the following;

  • Gym equipment repositioned where possible, some items taken out of action to allow for adequate distancing.
  • Studio classes being reviewed to allow for adequate space (2m distance maintained). Floor markings added where possible.
  • Studio classes will have at least 15 minutes gap between them to allow for cleaning and to stop a busy handover period.
  • A time slot booking system will/could be introduced to control member numbers in the gym at any one time, with cleaning slots between each booking.
  • Perspex screens erected where necessary to allow safety for teams at reception.
  • Bag storage in some sites will be limited to allow for distancing.
  • Cleaning schedules will be increased and a full clean will be taken before open.
  • All members will be asked to bring their own towels/mats (we can provide ones to purchase if required).
  • Extra sanitizer points positioned throughout the facilities, for you to ensure workout kit is cleaned after each use.

As we will be reviewing all studio classes, it is a perfect time to revamp our timetable and time to have your say and let us know anything you would like to see.

We are working with our Personal Trainers to ensure they can continue giving you expert training sessions safely.

We are sure there will be more as the government releases further detailed guidelines and we will endeavour to keep you updated.

Anything you would like to see please let us know.

We are all looking forward to welcoming you all back and want to ensure you are all kept exercising safely

The Park Club Team

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Carbohydrates are important as part of a well balanced diet, but what are good and what are bad carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy and are important in a well balanced diet. The three main types of carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and fibre. They're called “simple” or “complex” based on their chemical makeup and what your body does with them. However, many food contain one of more types of carbohydrates and it can be tricky to distinguish between them.

Refined or Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly by the body to be used as energy. Refined carbohydrates include refined sugars like you find in the sugar bowl or sugars added to foods like soft drinks and cakes. Simple carbohydrates are found naturally in foods such as fruits, milk, and milk products. 

Complex carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables.

Because refined carbohydrates are low in fibre and are digested quickly, eating them can cause major swings in blood sugar levels and contribute to overeating. This is because foods high on the Glycemic Index promote short-term fullness, lasting about one hour. On the other hand, foods that are low on the Glycemic Index promote a sustained feeling of fullness, which lasts about two to three hours.

Blood sugar levels drop about an hour or two after eating a meal high in refined/simple carbs. This promotes hunger and stimulates parts of the brain associated with reward and craving. These signals make you crave more food, and are known to cause over eating.

Instead, focus on including unrefined/complex carbohydrates that are in its natural or unprocessed state and is not striped of certain nutrients. These include whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.

Remember not all carbohydrates are bad for you. Simple and complex carbohydrates are important as part of a healthy diet. Be sensible about the carbohydrates you choose...skip that dessert or high sugar drink. Choose the healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables to get the energy your body needs. 


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When creating a workout plan include different types of workouts with varying frequency, duration and intensity and ensure you factor in rest time to ensure you have time to recover.

It is important that you have variety in your workout plan to ensure you get maximum results. Some workouts could be short and intense, others longer and more moderate.

Frequency (the number of times you exercise in a period) and duration (how long you exercise) are easy to manage. Intensity is a little harder and this is where you need to know your 5 heart rate training zones.

You can use your heart rate training zones to monitor your cardio training intensity and keep track of how hard you are training and ensuring your cardiorespiratory system is working at a specific effort.

We all have a personal resting heart rate; “a minimum heart rate” and a maximum heart rate. Between these values are different heart rate zones that correspond to training intensity and training benefit. The most common method of identifying training zones is to use a percentage of your maximum heart rate.

Firstly, you can calculate your maximum heart rate using the formula 208 - (0.7 x age). Then to calculate your personal zones (below) just multiply your max by the minimum and maximum percentages indicated in each zone.

The five training zones are:

Zone 1 = Very light (50-60% of maximum HR)
Zone 2 = Light (60-70% of maximum HR)
Zone 3 = Moderate (70-80% of maximum HR)
Zone 4 = Hard (80-90% of maximum HR)
Zone 5 = Very hard (90-100% of maximum HR)

Zones 1, 2 and 3 are best suited for the longer distance/duration cardio exercise, with zone 3 being the most beneficial for improving cardiovascular performance and aerobic stamina. Zone 4 and 5 start to incorporate higher intensities for shorter amounts of time, but are great for training your body at using carbs for energy and learn to withstand higher levels of lactate in the blood.

The key is that you should be training in all of these zones at different time in order to maximise your performance. Your intensity and your zones all depend on your health, performance, goals, and workout preferences.

You can measure your heart rate manually, by simply taking your pulse. There are also plenty of heart rate monitors and fitness trackers out there that will also do this for you. If you simply want to measure your heart rate, choose a basic and inexpensive one.

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When it comes to exercising, we all tend to be creatures of habit and resist change. The preference is to continue doing exercises that we like, that we are good at or because we like to have a consistent routine. However, now more than ever change is vital for us all in order to reach our fitness goals and avoid reaching that plateau where we no longer see improvements in our fitness or health. Here are some key reasons why it is important to vary your training:

1- Break through your training plateau - when you first start an exercise programme the improvements to your fitness come quickly, but your body soon gets used to doing the same activity and you risk hitting that plateau. This means that you burn fewer calories even when you are doing the same amount of exercise and consequently stop making progress! This is why it is important to challenge your body in a way that it is not used to, so you have to work harder to adjust to new activity and you will then burn more calories when you work out.

2- Reduce risk or injuries – There is a risk of injury by putting your body through the same movements over and over again, by causing muscular imbalances. For example if you are used to taking part in Studio Cycling twice a week there is a risk of overworking your quadriceps and hip flexors, consequently causing a tilt in your pelvis and risk of back pain. By mixing up your exercise you give any overworked muscles a chance to recover, you can target other weaker muscle groups and allow your body to try a variety of different movements.

3- Minimalise the boredom factor – Doing the same exercises can become very boring and you find yourself counting down the minutes until the end of your session. By adding in new exercises and challenging your body you will stay motivated and enjoy having some variety to test yourself. Try adding in some intervals instead of a long distance run, use free weights for your squats or try your first burpee! 

4- Hit your goals – The most important reason is hitting your goals! If you keep challenging your body by changing the exercises and varying your training, you will reach your goals a lot quicker. Do not settle for the same routine; keep varying the exercise, sets, reps and the rest period. The best way to vary your workouts is to do functional fitness due to its complexity, making the hormonal responses in your body greater as your body will not be able to adapt as fast and you will need to work harder to keep up with the new stimulus.

There are plenty of exercise sessions and live classes on social media and fitness apps for you to keep motivated and progressing your fitness levels during lock down including our own @parkclubhome page on Facebook where we have live classes, training ideas and tips to help keep you motivated. 

Stay safe everyone!

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What is HIIT training?

High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short bursts of intense exercise, followed by a period of rest or low intensity exercise.

Lasting no longer than 20-30 minutes, it’s a quick and effective workout for people struggling with time. The higher intensity intervals last for as little as 20-30 seconds, up to a few minutes with a similar rest period, working your body through the different heart rate zones.

Research out there backs up the effectiveness of HIIT workouts for maximizing your health outcomes:

  • Reduces body fat.
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness (aerobic and anaerobic).
  • Higher calorie burn for a short amount of time.
  • Increases metabolism during and after exercise.
  • Improves oxygen consumption.
  • Reduces heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Reduces blood sugar.

With more people based at home or without access to gyms, this is a great option for fitting in some exercise with limited equipment needed.

So keep moving for a healthy body and mind. 

Below are some example HIIT workouts for you to try, just add in the reps or duration for your fitness level:  

  • High knees                                           
  • Bodyweight squat                                 
  • Alternative lunges 
  • Hand walks 
  • Jumping Jacks 
  • Plank 


  • Squat Jumps
  • Step ups
  • Burpees
  • Reverse lunge
  • Side plank
  • Leg raises

Repeat each round 3-4 times. Enjoy! 

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