Category Archives: Fitness

She Wants To, She Can Do: 28th April 2019 Come Along for Free Sessions

Now that Easter is over and the evenings are getting lighter, it’s time to think about exercising in the evening.

I am really delighted to be working with Bedford Borough Council under the ‘She Wants to, She Can Do’ initiative. On Sunday 28th April 2019 you will find me at Bedford Park right next door to Robinson’s Gym and I’ll be holding 4 x 20 minute taster sessions.

Every participant will be asked to sign a PAR-Q form (The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire). This is a simple two-page form which takes about 2-3 minutes to complete. This basically provides me with enough information to determine if you’re ready to exercise or if you should check with your doctor first before becoming more physically active. Really nothing to worry about.

Each 20 minute session will have a warm-up and a cool-down and the sessions will look like this:

11:00 to 11:20 – Playing games to keep fit – a fun session where you won’t even notice you’re working hard.
11:30 to 11:50 – Endurance circuit for an all body work-out.
12:00 to 12:20 – Working out in a pair to strengthen the core, upper and lower body.
12:30 to 12:50 – Circuit using kit for an all body work-out.

The sessions will take place just opposite the tennis courts, so please arrive a few minutes early so that we can get the paperwork sorted.

Trust me the sessions will be fun and you will be working hard without even realising it. Then once 4th July hits, I will be holding one hour sessions at Priory Park for six weeks. Just show up when you can (there are no contracts) and pay £4.

If you can’t wait until July, then don’t forget the Saturday sessions at Harrold-Odell Country Park at 09:30. We meet outside the Dragonfly café. More details can be found here.

Look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Happy exercising in the great outdoors.

Best wishes
Jules x

Why is the First Ten Minutes of Exercise Always the Hardest?

The title says it all really. Plus, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. I have spoken to many people who run or take part in football, tennis, personal training or any form of exercise really. The answer always comes back the same.

Take running for example. As I’m following a 16 week marathon training programme, I thought that week by week the first ten minutes would begin to get easier. But no, it’s still as hellish as ever! It’s always in the first ten minutes when I want to give up and very nearly do.

So I got to thinking there must be something scientific behind this feeling. There is.

It seems that according to research the body is basically crying out in pain at the beginning of exercise. All of the nerve endings are saying “Woooooooaaah! Why are you waking me up?”

In reality what is happening is that the *senovial fluids are taking their time lubricate your joints.  Your breathing seems irregular and difficult and talking to a running partner is just a no-no.

Other factors such as that feeling of early fatigue during exercise is actually quite normal. In fact, it happens to even highly trained athletes. But rather than feeling demoralised and psyched out by your heavy breathing and burning legs, use this knowledge as a reminder of the importance of the warm up, and remember what’s happening in your body in the first few minutes of exercise.

Have a read of this great article from Elizabeth Quinn which goes into more depth about the scientific reasons for this problem. It tells you all you need to know and how to combat the worst effects so that when minute 11 kicks in; you are really in the zone! Elizabeth concludes “that If you want to take a gentler approach when you head out for a workout, use the first 5 minutes as an easy warm up, the next 5 minutes to ramp up the pace and then settle into your workout as usual”. So no great revelations, just good practical advice.

If you feel suitably relieved having read this blog and you are training for an event or just coming back to fitness, why not get extra help with personal training in Bedfordshire, North Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire. Just call Jules now for more expert advice and support.

And remember, even Mo Farrah and the Brownlee Brothers feel exactly the same as you do in the first ten minutes. Now that’s a comforting thought!

*The senovial fluids are the bodies way of lubricating the joints and so once this happens you tend to get into a groove after the ten minutes.


Group Fitness Sessions in Harrold-Odell Park – Amazing Start

In the last week of August, I have never been so interested in the weather forecast.  On a daily basis I was hoping the predicted sunny spell would hold and that everyone would enjoy working out on a Summer’s day.

Well, the Gods were certainly on our side on 1st September.  The day before, Jes and I met up to discuss the programme and what kit we needed to get out of the garage.  So we arrived at 8:30am with the wheelbarrow to empty the kit out of the car.  Unfortunately, we had a flat, so Jes/Martin enjoyed a good workout getting everything across to the bench (which turned out to be quite some distance from the car park).  With everything set up, we waited for the first clients to arrive.  Martin had done all of the marketing and ensured the villages were swamped with posters and cards.  I don’t think you could turn in Olney without seeing the advertising.

At 9:15am the first clients showed up, with their PAR-Q forms in hand.  A PAR-Q is basically a health questionnaire which allows Jes and I to determine what exercises need to be avoided. Also to advise on other exercises which may help in these areas. Everyone seemed very excited, although a little nervous as to what lay ahead.

With the sun shining and around 18 degrees, we started off with the all important warm-up.  This was soon followed by a circuit and then some excellent exercises using power bags, slam balls and resistance bands for running.  Following a fun (yet tough) work-out we organised a final game and then started the cool-down.

The group will tell you what a great session they had.  Hard work, but plenty of laughs and the hour went so quickly.  If this sounds what you need, then please do come along – you will find us outside the Dragonfly cafe every Saturday at 9:30am (please try to come 10 minutes early to ensure a swift start). The cost is £5 per person and you simply pay as you go – no monthly contracts or joining fees. You can find more details here.

If you want to stay fit and healthy, then it might as well be fun and in a beautiful park.

See you there.


Is Exercising Outdoors Better for you? I Think we Know the Answer

Although it’s getting cooler now, we’ve certainly had a run of hot weather this year.  I really couldn’t handle the prospect of going to the local gym to work out and any form of fitness classes inside, just left me cold and I couldn’t be bothered.  I’m sure you might have felt the same.

As you know at the very heart of Fitbiznow we believe in fitness in the great outdoors.  Whatever the weather, be it sun, shine, snow or rain you will find us outside working out. After a hard day at the office, sitting down all day and coping with the air conditioning (Summer of course), then it’s great to get outside for a good work-out.  On a beautiful Summer’s evening, it’s wonderful to hop on a bike or go out for a run in the sunlight.

The bottom line is you can take your exercise outside – whatever you can do in the gym, with some imagination you can take outside.

So is there really any benefit to exercising outside?

  1. Exercising outside gives you the opportunity to work-out in a changing environment.  In other words the ground and gradient are changing every step you take. In doing so you are challenging your body more and strengthening up the connective tissue which may help to avoid injury.
  2. Wind resistance can help you to burn more calories.  If you’re on a bike or running, you may find a strong headwind, which takes more energy to cover the same distance.  When you’ve got a strong tailwind, you will feel exhilarated and go faster – this can help to build definition in your body.
  3. There’s some pretty good research out there, which has demonstrated that exercise outside can increase energy levels and positivity with a decrease in anger, confusion and depression.  How many times have you gone to a fitness class in a bad mood and walked away feeling so much better.
  4. Exercising outdoors can improve your mental health as well.  There’s some real benefits to switching the laptop off, leaving the mobile phone at home and enjoying the great outdoors.
  5. Being outside can easily be turned into family time.  Take the kids out on a bike ride, enjoy a game of rounder, clamber over the climbing frame.  Not as good as a one hour circuit, but certainly exercise and plenty of fresh air.

So get outside and enjoy.  Don’t forget we are running Group Fitness classes at Harrold-Odell Park from 1st September 2018.  Please do get along.


Why is Fitness So Hard after the Summer Holidays?

You’ve been really good about exercising on the lead up to your holiday and then you go on holiday and have a complete break.  No visits to the gym, no running along the promenade, no yoga…… On top of that you’re drinking every night (or all day if you’re all inclusive), eating the wrong foods and adding a few extra pounds along the way.

Trust me I am where you are right now after every holiday and Martin probably struggles more than me.  You then come back and keep putting off the fitness classes or eating the right foods, combined with drinking every night. You plan to start the following week and then the following week, but the old regime never quite gets off the ground.

So how do you get back on the wagon?

  1. First of all don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone deserves a break during a holiday. Don’t feel that you need to come back from holiday and work off what you consumed by doing hour after hour of cardio.  Get that negativity out of the way and see this as an opportunity to start afresh and try something new.
  2. Try a new class. If you’ve been doing a particular class for years, then it can get boring.  That’s where the Group Classes by Fitbiznow come in useful.  You can get plenty of fresh air, whilst meeting new people without being locked into a contract. If you’re in the area, come along to Odell Park, Harrold.  More details here……
  3. Start slowly and be realistic – you’re bound to be tired after a holiday. Start with half an hour a day with gentle exercise to avoid injury. This beats ploughing in with an hour a day of intensive exercise, which might have a negative impact – in other words you get depressed because you could do this two weeks ago and now you’re struggling.
  4. Try to cut the alcohol out during the week and make this a treat on the weekend with a quality glass of wine. I adopted this approach some years ago and now I really enjoy it.  After a holiday, it’s all too easy to carry on drinking.
  5. Try to get your diet back on track as soon as you can – make it fun. With the beautiful weather we are having, we’re barbecuing most evenings – grilling salmon with a simple salad or making burgers.  Having said that, I am writing this in a thunder storm!

Don’t forget it’s hard for all of us when coming back from holiday. I take a break like anyone else and then find I need to spend quite a bit of time getting back to where I was.

Happy exercising and see you at Odell Park on 1st September, 09:30.  Details here.

Group vs Solo Fitness Training – What’s the Best Approach?

Do you enjoy working out on your own, or would you rather be part of a group?

We all know that going to the gym without a friend to spur you on can be hard work. It’s hard enough to exercise in the summer and then winter hits,  and we all go to ground. Even Personal Trainers at times find it hard, so I enjoy working out with my husband Martin. When we were training for our marathons on those cold winter nights, we relied on each other to get out the door after a busy day at work. Going to gyms or pounding the streets on your own, can be a miserable place to be – there’s no one to motivate you or have a chat with.

A recent study in the US, found that participating in a group fitness class led to a “significant decrease in stress and an increase in physical, mental and emotional quality of life”.

By attending a group class, I’ll be able to walk you through each exercise, using the correct technique and urge you on when you think you can’t do another thing. Group workouts are great, because you naturally work harder when people around you are giving it their all. This all means, you will get so much more out of a group workout than going it alone.

A healthy body is important of course, but so is a healthy mind. The social element you get from a group is vital too. Fitbiznow will be scheduling some fun group activities from coffee get-togethers (the first Saturday of each month) to obstacle courses, Christmas outings and plenty more surprises. The pub will be included too – fitness should be fun. When it stops being fun, you run the risk of giving up and that’s simply not going to happen if you pop along to my classes.

If you live in Bedfordshire, I’d love to invite you to my first Group Session on 1st September at Odell Park, Harrold, You can find out all the details here.

Take care and look forward to seeing you soon.

Jules (Group Fitness Coach)

The Winter Blues. Get Happy – it’s Time for Some Endorphins

Phew! January is over and given some of the weather we have had, it made it seem like it was never ending. In fact someone said to me the other day, “Is it the 93rd January today?”

Luckily, February has now come to the rescue with barmy spring temperatures and new born lambs galloping around the field…..oh dear, no that’s March isn’t it?

But fear not, there is one sure way to cheer yourself up and get happy.


It doesn’t really matter too much what form it takes; from a brisk country walk to training for a marathon; its all good.

And exercise leads to the release of endorphins, which make you happier. They are the slightly buzzy feeling you get immediately after working out and the world just seems a better place than it did half an hour before. Endorphins are the chemicals your brain releases when you exercise. They interact with the receptors in your brain to reduce the perception of pain. They also trigger a good feeling in your body, similar to the effect of morphine (Fitbiznow disclaimer – we believe in naturally enhanced highs only!)

Endorphins also help balance out the effect of mental illness and any stress that you may be feeling. Your mind wanders off during exercise and you start to think about the good bits in your life and don’t dwell on the bad stuff or the problems that you have. Exercise can also ward off depression and anxiety. Try it, it works!

Here at Fitbiznow,  we love exercise in the great outdoors as you know. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like as long as you have the right kit. The combination of being outside and keeping fit can’t be beaten. So call us today and we can get you ready for spring and summer and happier days.

Happy New Year From Fitbiznow – Some Great Tips to Get Back to Fitness

A happy new year to all our friends and customers! 

You are probably feeling a little down after all the festive excitement and also a little guilty after indulging in all that food and drink?. Well fear not, so are we! 

January is a hard enough month as it is without feeling bad over this stuff. The best way to ease yourself into the new year is to just make small changes each week as you get back to full fitness.

So maybe just have a drink every couple of days or just weekends. Give up the mince pies, but still have a little treat every few days so that you aren’t going completely cold turkey.

In addition to this, if you haven’t visited the gym or had a run for a good few weeks, then again slowly return to your normal routine rather than trying to do it all at once.

A good idea (if you are a runner) might be to sign up for a 10k or half marathon in February and gradually work towards it with some short runs. For gym work, just do 30 minutes rather than your usual 40 or longer.

By the third week of January, you will be feeling so much better and on track to reach your fitness goals for 2018.

Of course, if you need help in getting back to fitness and reaching your goals, then Jules is ready and waiting to make it happen for you!

If you live in Bedfordshire, north Bucks or Northamptonshire, just contact us and we can get cracking!

The Best 84 Year Old Squat in the World – Meet Jules’ Dad

We recently caught up with Jules’s Dad Mick who is 84. After a lifetime of keeping himself fit through many activities, from cycling to football,  he continues to stay in tip top condition – so we thought we’d ask him the secret of a long healthy life.

Mick told us that as a young lad he had always been a keen footballer and played in school teams and later on in pub teams. He even played every Sunday on the hallowed pitches of Hackney Marshes. A bad foot injury forced him to look for another sport to keep fit and this led him to cycling. 

His cycling years started at the same time he was in the national service stationed at Duxford. Every time he was given leave he would cycle the 70 miles back home to London. This led to him taking part in semi pro cycling races around the country and creating lifelong friendships – all enjoying cycling holidays together. He moved on to time trials and would even train with bricks in his saddle bag!

Mick has also always prided himself on eating healthily down the years and always eats his 5 a day and drinks only in moderation. This has meant that when he felt too old for football and cycling he has become a keen walker and tries to cover at least five miles a day even in winter.

He briefly returned to cycling in his seventies when Jules bought him a bike for Christmas and she now helps with some basic exercises to keep him supple. In fact, she is pretty convinced that his squat is the best she has seen and simply remarkable for someone who is 84!

If you would like Jules or any members of her team to help you reach peak fitness like Mick, please get in touch if you live in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire.



Start Spreading the News – Final Marathon Update

On a cold damp morning we crossed the East River on the ferry to Staten Island. Just us and 55,000 other runners!

Our moods were swinging between total excitement at the day ahead and complete fear of the unknown. As you know,  we had done all the training and had pounded the streets from Bedford to Milton Keynes and even achieved some impressive distances, but nothing prepares you for the first time.

Jules’s reaction to being in this situation is to be very quiet, just like her charity sky dive a couple of years ago.  Mine is to babble on and on nervously about nothing!

Finally we reached the start line and our first big challenge – the 1.8 mile Verrazano Bridge which joins the island to Brooklyn. Get over this and the crowds would embrace us and carry us  the remaining 24.4 miles we told ourselves. Well,  as it was very wet and windy that was easier said that done. We were also wearing just about everything item of clothing we had in our suitcases as recommended in all of the blogs we had read.

After a couple of minutes running,  you have basically stripped off all the woollen hats, gloves, jogging bottoms and extra layers you are wearing because you warm up so quickly and we added to the mountains of clothing at roadside (we were told on good authority that these are donated to the homeless, so all good)

The bridge was awful. I almost gave up after a mile as it felt like I was running at altitude and looking around at my fellow runners – a lot of them seemed to feel the same way. However, nothing prepares you for the wall of noise which greets you as you come off the bridge and run into Brooklyn. Everyone shouts your name (we had stencilled these on ready for this) and the union jacks on our backs certainly went down well with the New Yorkers.

After that it was a breeze. Every time we felt that we were flagging, we just drew on the support of the crowd and our nutrition and water intake went like a dream. I’m not saying it wasn’t hard, it was in fact very tough, but the love coming from behind the barriers actually made it my most pleasurable run in the whole 16 week programme.

Around mile 20 we hit the dreaded wall that we had been told about, but by digging in and getting to the outskirts of Central Park three miles out we scented the finish line.  Jules posted a brilliant time but I was just happy with finishing. To be honest, I was enjoying myself too much to run too fast, leading singing in the crowd, enjoying the regular bands and even holding up some of the witty banners for selfies! Nothing prepares you for the experience, but the thought that complete strangers have given up their day to cheer on people they have never met was very life affirming.

We were on a high the next day,  walking around Manhattan bumping into our fellow runners all wearing medals. The legs were stiff but the glow of a fantastic achievement would last a very long time.

Postscript: Jules was quoted at the finish line saying “I am in pain, that was so tough, I will never do that again.”

All I can say is watch this space, the bug may have bitten!

If you are training for a marathon and need a specialist running coach, contact Fitbiznow for personal training in Bedfordshire, North Buckinghamshire or Northamptonshire. Just call Jules now for more expert advice and support.