FEATURE: Busting the fitness myths at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre
PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:26 19 May 2017
Running for hours on end, slaving away on the treadmill, or panting on the rowing machine for an hour non-stop.
These are all things which fill many people with dread, yet they do them to keep their fitness up and weight down.
But Weston’s Hutton Moor Leisure Centre is hoping people can re-think how to keep healthy through different forms of training.
Reporter Sheridan Robins has been weight training for the past two months with the centre’s fitness manager Andy Dockrell – but has she been converted?
Despite having a good level of fitness, the word weights has often filled me with anxiety. There was no real reason for that, apart from the fact I was worried it would go wrong somehow. I have never thought of myself as strong but swimming, spinning and a cross-trainer workout were always exercises in my comfort zone.
But when I met Andy he told me I did things the hard way and could achieve better results by using weights and cutting down my cardio.
He immediately warned me I would not get ‘hench’ but I would become strong and look different, rather than see any change on the scales.
The hashtag #girlswholift has been doing the rounds on social media of late and I like to think I am now one of them – something I think is often overshadowed by gender stereotypes. Only men lift weights, right? Wrong.
But it was not an easy transition. In our first session, I was put through my paces with leg raises, kettlebell swings and a number of arm exercises using small 2kg weights. I was certainly aching a lot afterwards but I powered through with the programme three or four times a week.
The plan was always to stay away from the scales and focus on measurements.
After just one month, I had lost an inch from my waist and an inch and a half from my belly button, and that was without changing anything I ate or drank – and I certainly never turn down a glass of wine or two at the weekend.
But what was the problem with that progress? Andy pushed me even harder.
I was suddenly squatting with a 15kg training pack (I am now up to 20kg) and then the moment came when I thought I would embarrass myself in front of everyone at the gym.
Andy brought one of the training boxes over and told me I would be jumping from the floor onto it.
I nervously laughed. But no, he was serious and he told me I could do it.
So, naturally I was not to be defeated, and without falling flat on my face, I surprised myself at how smoothly I jumped on to the box.
I now regularly use this as part of my training and actually find it fun.
Rather than slaving away for an hour doing the same repetitive exercise, I had a range of different things to try, depending on how I was feeling that day.
Andy said he wanted to show people exercise does not have to be repetitive and boring and assured me when I met him at 6am for a training session I would be continually burning fat throughout the day – some consolation for the obscenely early get-up.
My whole outlook on exercise has now changed and it has become a lot less of a chore and I certainly will not be going back to the boring days of running on a treadmill.
It may not be for everyone, but I would urge everyone to give it a go.
But it is crucial to make sure you are doing exercises correctly, to avoid injury – especially if, like me, you are a complete novice when it comes to weight training.
Personal training sessions are available at Hutton Moor, and you can find out more by calling 01934 425900 or online via www.leisurecentre.com/hutton-moor-leisure-centre