Last call for HIIT Boot Camp - January 2018!

Claire BC.jpg

The lovely Claire is kicking off our first HIIT BootCamp of 2018 in Wimbledon Park tomorrow morning!

If you're still making your mind up about coming, now's the time to throw caution to the wind & commit!

We start tomorrow in Wimbledon Park at 6.15am (finishing at 7.00am).

Training over 5 consecutive mornings, you'll get a full body workout, combining strength, cardio, endurance, core & functional movement. You'll scorch calories & be challenged from head to toe.

But I'm not feeling very fit?

Don't worry. We'll be offering different levels to suit all abilities. Beginners, weekend warriors & serious fitness freaks are all welcome.

What if I can't make every session?

No problem. You can make up a class at one of our regular Fit In The Park classes.

But I don't want to go on my own?

You'll be introduced to all of our Boot Campers on the first day. We'll then work hard to ensure an inclusive, motivating spirit and strong sense of comradeship during the week. It'll be great fun too!

So when is it? 

  • Monday - Friday: 6.15 - 7.00am

Where and when is it?

How much does it cost?

  • £45 for each 5-day Boot Camp.

How do I book?

Happy Training!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

SkiFit BootCamp - Starts Tomorrow!


Get yourself ski-Fit prior to your holiday to ensure you get the most out of your trip, reduce your risk of injury and be more confident on the slopes.

Our Ski-Fit Boot Camp will help you to:

  • Strengthen your whole body, with particular focus on the legs and core
  • Improve your muscular endurance and stamina
  • Sharpen your balance and agility
  • Build your aerobic fitness

This is a progressive 5-week course, with each session building on what we worked on the previous week.

  • Time: 6.15 - 7.00am
  • Place: South Park Gardens
  • Dates: Every Tuesday morning from the 9th January through to the 6th February 2018
  • Cost: £45 for the 5 sessions (if you miss a session, you're welcome to make it up at one of our regular Fit In The Park classes).

There are limited spaces available, so book your place now!


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Additional BoxFit classes added!

We've got some great news!

Our two Wednesday night BoxFit Boot Camps became booked up really quickly, and we know a lot of you were disappointed not to get a place.

So, we've now added two more BoxFit Boot Camps at Garfield School with Antonio! It’ll be every Tuesday evening for 5 weeks starting from the 9th January 2018. Scroll down to find out more, or head over to our BootCamp page to book your place.

BoxFit Boot Camp!

This 5-week BoxFit Boot Camp with Antonio is an ultra-calorie burning workout that’s guaranteed to get your heart pumping. Using boxing pads and gloves, you'll work your whole body, whilst challenging your strength, speed and endurance. It's lots of fun and a great stress buster too!

  • Times: Choose either 7.15pm - 8.15pm or 8.15pm - 9.15pm
  • Place: Garfield School, SW19 8SB
  • Dates: Tuesday evenings from the 9th January 2018
  • Cost: £54 for 5 sessions (if you miss a session, you're welcome to make it up at one of our regular Fit In The Park classes).

This Boot Camp is suitable for all levels. However, if you have any back issues, or have had a baby in the last 6 months, it won't be right for you at the moment. If you're not sure, please get in touch.

Think you’ve got what it takes?

Sign-up today and become a Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine! We'll be limiting numbers due to the space and equipment available, so book your place now!

Happy New Year!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Kettlebells Boot Camp In South Park Gardens - Tomorrow Night!

We've got a few places left on our last Kettlebells Boot Camp tomorrow night.

This session will challenge your cardio system, muscular strength & endurance. Your core will be fired up and your glutes will be switched on big time. In other words, you'll burn calories and sculpt your whole body, all in one go!

When Is It?

  • Wednesday 26th July, 7.15pm - 8.15pm

Where Is It?

How Much Is It?

  • Just £10 (advance bookings only)

How Do I Book?

  • This Boot Camp is suitable for all levels. But if you have any back issues, or have had a baby in the last 6 months, this Boot Camp won't be right for you at the moment, sorry. If you're not sure, just drop us a line.
  • Head over to our BootCamp page to book.
Posted by Heather Waghorn.

More Kettlebells In South Park Gardens!

You ask and we deliver!

As our 7.15-8.15pm Kettlebells BootCamp is now fully booked, we've added a new course onto our timetable!

It's also on Wednesday evenings, but at a later time of 8.15pm-9.15pm. We're expecting it to be popular, so if you'd like to come along, make sure you don't hang around in booking your place.

  • What: This 6-week course will challenge your cardio system, muscular strength & endurance. Your core will be fired up and your glutes will be switched on big time. In other words, you'll burn calories and sculpt your whole body, just in time for the summer!

  • When: Wednesday evenings, 8.15pm - 9.15pm, from 7 June - 12 July 2017

  • Where: South Park Gardens, Wimbledon SW19 8QT

  • Who: This BootCamp is suitable for all levels. But if you have any back issues, or have had a baby in the last 6 months, this BootCamp won't be right for you at the moment, sorry. If you're not sure, please get in touch.

  • How much: £54 for the 6 sessions. If you miss a session, you're welcome to make it up at one of our regular Fit In The Park classes.

Book now: To book, simply click here, or drop us a line to find out more.

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Getting High on Exercise!

We all know that regular exercise is great for toning-up your body, warding-off disease and generally improving your overall health.

But exercise is also a great mood enhancer. It can put a smile on your face when you’re feeling down and boost your energy levels when you’re feeling weary.

But why does this happen? Here are some of the most popular theories which try to explain that exercise high.

The Endorphin Effect

If you go back to our hunter/gatherer days, prolonged physical activity was necessary for our survival. If we didn’t go out chasing animals and rummaging for food, we’d basically starve. It’d therefore make sense if our bodies had a way of reducing pain during the hunt, and somehow make this physical activity more enjoyable.

This is where endorphins come in. They’re chemically similar to morphine, and naturally relieve pain within the body.

Although they’re not fully understood, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that endorphin levels in the blood rise during exercise (and also during sex… but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions there!). These endorphins appear to not only increase our tolerance of pain, but also give us a sense of pleasure and relaxation.

Getting Satisfaction

Exercise can also give you a great sense of achievement, and this could be part of the high that you experience.

Whether you’ve managed to run to the top of a hill without stopping, or survived your first tough exercise class, you can really feel triumphant and get a buzz from a good workout.

Stress-busting Fitness Fantasies

Exercise can also provide a great distraction from life’s troubles. Whether you’re out on a run or in the gym, there’s absolutely nothing you can do about finishing that report, achieving those sales targets or paying the bills.

It’s also amazing how the answers to your problems can somehow pop into your head during a tough training session. As a result, you’ll often come home feeling not only healthier, but a much happier person too.

For daydreamers like me, exercise can also be a time to allow your mind to wander. You can enter into your own private make-believe world, where you can be whoever you want to be and achieve anything you want to achieve (anyone for the 2012 Olympics?!).

Conclusion – Chase that High!

Regular training can definitely perk you up, relieve stress, and give you a heightened sense of well-being.

Whilst the jury is still out as to exactly what causes this high, it does exist and is definitely a habit that’s worth pursuing.

All it takes is a bit of hard work on your part, and you’ll be rewarded with an energy-boosting, exercise-induced, feel-good factor. Best of all, its free, legal and available on-tap!

Surely it’s not something you should be missing out on?

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Fancy a Challenge? How about running 7 marathons in 7 continents in just over 5 days!

I love hearing stories about people who push the physical limits of the human body, and take on extraordinary challenges and adventures. Top of my Herculean list at the moment is Richard Donovan, who has just completed a Global Marathon Challenge by running 7 marathons in 7 continents in just over 5 days (and that includes travel!).

Donovan’s recent run around the world began in Antarctica where he battled strong winds, blinding snow and sub-zero temperatures. He then flew to sunny Cape Town, followed by Dubai, London (in the snow!), Toronto, Santiago, and finally Sydney where temperatures rose to 33o!

He completed this gruelling challenge in a total of 130 hours and 8 minutes. During this time, he ran 295km (183 miles), spent over 62 hours ‘resting’ on planes, and flew 43,000km!

To put this into perspective, running a marathon (26.2 miles) is a pretty tough challenge in itself. However with enough groundwork, plus a beefy mental attitude, I believe it’s well within most people’s reach.

Running back-to-back marathons, however, takes things to a whole new impressive level. This type of endurance event is reserved for the hard core, those who are fit enough and sufficiently foolish to attempt it.

But Donovan’s challenge was no measly trot around a few city parks. Not only did he run a huge distance over a short period of time, he also had to contend with sleep deprivation, jet lag, and extreme temperature and weather changes ranging from deep snow to intense heat!

Compare this to your own training over the last few weeks. If you’ve wimped out of going for a run around the block because you thought you might get a bit damp or cold (especially during the recent snow and rain), then let this story put you to shame! These are just mild inconveniences in comparison!

For further inspiration, and to read more about Donovan’s challenge, and GOAL, the charity he ran for, visit his website at www.worldmarathonchallenge.com.

Happy training!


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

How Can You Make Running More Fun?

Every runner needs some help to stay motivated from time to time. Here are a few ideas to help keep you on your toes and off the sofa!

1) Run Free

Ditch your schedule, route plan and stopwatch. Head out the door and, once you’re warmed up, literally run like a child. Don’t worry about form, how fast you’re running, where you’re going or how far. Just go for it. Let everything go. Feel the wind in your hair. Enjoy the exhilarating thrill of running fast. It feels good. Feels like you’re flying. Nothing can hold you back…

2) Head for the Hills

Hill training is great for creating “buns of steel”! Not only that but your whole body will get a good workout, including your arms and chest. It’s also enormously beneficial for building strength, endurance and speed.

Try not to approach a hill with a feeling of doom, though. Hills are only hard if you make them hard. Instead, see it as an opportunity to vary your pace and leg stride. Change down a gear and lessen your speed as the gradient increases.  Use your arms to help power you up to the summit.

When you get to the top, allow yourself to revel in that sense of elation. Hurrah you’ve made it! Let the endorphins flow!

Then, liberate your legs and arms as you enjoy some effortless speed on the way back down. This requires a different style and attitude. Relax your whole body, chill out and enjoy the ride!

3) Push the Boundaries

Be progressive. Challenge yourself on your regular run, be it 2 miles or 10. You can do it faster, can’t you?

Time it. Record it. Beat it!!!!!

4) Run to the Beat

Would you go on a long car journey without a radio or music?

Depending on the type of run, music can give you that extra boost when you hit a slump, take your mind off the pain or just put an extra spring in your step.

Invest some time into creating the right playlist for the type of run you’re doing. If you’re going for speedwork, try having a fast beat song, followed by a slower song. Run hard to the fast beat, and then recover listening to something more chilled out.

Make sure you stay safe. Never have headphones on after dark or in unpopulated areas, and be aware of your surroundings.

5) Cool Running Gadgets & Gismos

Although spending your hard-earned cash on the latest running gadget won’t necessarily transform you from a red-faced, wheezing jogger into a finely honed, lean-machine athlete, it can be a good way to help inspire and motivate you.  

Heart rate monitors are great for understanding how hard you’re running, help you track your progress, keep you running at the right intensity and stop you from under or over training.

GPS watches, such as the Garmin, can tell you how fast and how far you’re running including your elevation. They work in a similar way to the Sat Nav in your car. You can even impress your friends and family with how far you’ve run by downloading your routes onto Google Maps!

Similarly, you can use footpods, like those made by Polar, Nike and Suunto. These ingenious gadgets work by monitoring the movement of your foot and transmitting this data back to your watch. You’ll get all the information you need on your running distance, speed, cadence and much more!


So now you know that hills don’t have to be horrendous, running like a child and testing yourself can be fun, and music can make your runs rock!  What's more, you no longer need to waste time measuring your routes using a bit of string and a map.  There are plenty of swanky toys on the market that’ll do a much better job, and offer far more entertainment! 

All you need to do now is get out running, and enjoy it!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Motivational Mottos to Spur You into Action

Some of them are my own creation, some I’ve just heard and have stuck in my mind, and others come from books and the internet. All of them make me smile and give me inspiration in different ways.

1)    The smug feeling you get after a workout is far better than the guilty feeling you get if you've given exercise the cold-shoulder. 

2)    “Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today'. ” Peter Maher, Canadian elite marathon runner

3)    Exercise is like mouthwash. If you can feel the burn, it's working!

4)    “Apart from the survival advantage when escaping a sinking ship in a cold ocean, being too fat has nothing but downsides.” Mike Stroud, Survival of the Fittest

5)    “Think of it like sex or a tax rebate. A little is always better than nothing. If all you have is 17 minutes to fit in a run, then run for 17 minutes.”  Runner’s World.

6)    Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows that it must out run the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or gazelle. When the sun comes up you had better be running!

7)    Conditions are never just right. People who put off doing things until all factors are favourable, achieve nothing.

8)    Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach!

9)    Force yourself outside the door, once your out, that’s the hardest bit of the workout over and done with.

10)    The more “buts”, the bigger the BUTT!

So that's the motivational bit, now get out there and train!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

What’s the Point of Sports Drinks & Gels?: Part 2

Re-fueling on the Run

There’s a variety of sports drinks, gels and bars on the market to provide you with a quick carbohydrate hit whilst on the run. All are designed to boost your energy levels and prevent you from resorting to using fat as a major fuel supply during endurance events.

Research suggests that you should consume between 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour (depending on your size and exercise intensity) when exercising. It's worth noting that this is the maximum amount that your body can deal with, so consuming more than this will not make you run faster or further!

As it takes at least 30 minutes for the carbohydrate to be absorbed into the bloodstream, it’s important to start consuming it before you start feeling tired.

Drink & Be Merry!

Sports drinks are a great way to replenish spent energy and also re-hydrate your drained body.

Most big city marathons have drinks like Lucozade Sport at regular intervals. However many people find that they can’t tolerate the taste or suffer from stomach cramps after drinking it. It's worth experimenting on training runs first!

You can buy other brands, such as the Science in Sport PSP22, which are easier to stomach. However carrying a couple of litres of liquid around 26.2 miles can be a bit cumbersome!

Get Gelled Up!

A logistically easier option is to carry energy gels, which can be tucked into shorts, belts and pockets etc.

They are essentially concentrated drinks of about 100 calories each, and they come in range of flavours and textures.  It's important to take on some water (usually around 200ml) with the gels to help them get absorbed into your bloodstream.

Beans, Bars & Bananas

Some people carry jelly beans, bars and bananas and munch on them whilst running. These can all be good sources of quick-release energy if you eat a little and often. They also need to be consumed with plenty of water to help them be absorbed.

What Else Should You Know?

You ideally need to strike a balance between carbohydrate availability, performance and minimizing digestive distress. Practice is the best way to do this. 10 miles into your marathon is neither the time nor the place to discover that a particular sports drink gives you diarrhea!

A word of warning, if you're training for less than an hour, you should not be using sports gels or drinks. You only need to be taking on water to avoid dehydration.

Finally, the amount of glycogen stored in your muscles before you set off will have a huge impact on your performance. To boost your glycogen levels, you should eat plenty of carbohydrates in the days before, and morning of your marathon. This will mean that you will be able to run for longer and harder before you have to rely too much on your fat stores (see Part 1) for fuel.


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

What’s the Point of Sports Drinks & Gels?: Part 1

Fueling the Grueling Marathon Miles

You see plenty of weary runners guzzling sports drinks, like Lucazade Sport, on events such as the London Marathon without really knowing what it’s doing to their body and how much they should be knocking back at each mile.

But to understand why and when you should consume sports drinks & gels, it’s first helpful to know a bit about the way your body uses fuel for exercise, and why you get tired on a long run.

Muscle Power

When you start exercising, your main supply of fuel is the glycogen that's stored in your muscles and liver. But this is in limited supply. The harder you work, the faster it’ll run out.

As you tick off the miles during a marathon, your body starts to burn proportionally less glycogen and instead turns to blood sugar and body fat for energy.

Fuel for Thought

However, your brain relies on blood sugar to function properly, and it simply can’t let this supply run out. So as levels drop, your body increasingly switches over to fat as a preferred fuel source.

Unfortunately fat, in comparison to blood sugar and glycogen, takes much longer to be converted into energy. The more your body relies on fat as an energy source, the slower and harder things become.

On top of that, converting fat into fuel requires considerably more oxygen, so you’ll also become increasingly out of breath too!

From relative comfort into pure torture!

After about 2-3 hours, you may develop temporary hypoglycemia. At this point, your body has a depletion of muscle and liver glycogen stores together with low blood sugar levels.

Runners call it “hitting the wall” whilst cyclists refer to it as “bonking”. Symptoms include light-headedness, heavy legs, severe tiredness, and you generally feel like you’re giving a 16 stone man a piggyback!

Read "What’s the Point of Sports Drinks & Gels?: Part 2" to find out how you can make things easier!


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Train Like an Ancient Persian Warrior!

Have you got the balls?

Some bounce, some have handles and some have ropes attached to them. Modern medicine balls now come in an amazing array of sizes, colours and weights.

However, the original prototypes (produced some 3000 years ago) were not so attractive. Made out of animal bladders and stuffed with sand, they’re thought to have been used in training by Persian warriors, Hippocrates, and ancient Chinese martial arts masters, to name but a few. 

So why are they called medicine balls?

Moving forward into the 19th century, ball training became a popular workout feature in the gymnasiums. At this time, the words “health” and “medicine” were synonymous, and the term “medicine ball” is believed to originate from this period.

More recently, hi-tech gadgets and complex machines have taken over in our gyms. However, the humble medicine ball is now making a come back, as the benefits of functional training are seen as being increasingly important.

Time to take your medicine

Medicine ball training is really adaptable and can be used for beginners, weekend warriors and endurance athletes alike.

Using a few differently weighted balls, you can beef-up circuit training sessions and traditional exercises to create tough, stamina-building workouts. It's a really efficient way to develop your speed, strength, balance, and endurance.

They're also perfect for beginners and are a fun tool for those wanting just to get into shape and vary their workouts.  Medicine ball training uses your muscles in a similar way to when you're lifting objects in everyday life (eg children, shopping etc) so it is much more practical than using dumbbells.

Medicine balls can also be a really efficient form of sports specific training. With a bit of imagination, they can be used to simulate and help improve golf and tennis swings, swimming strokes, and football and basketball techniques. Runners can also train with the ball to push their core rotational muscles.

You can work your whole body or just target specific areas, and they're an ideal tool for improving your core power and stability. Practically everything you do with a medicine ball will work your core muscles to some extent. So whether you're lifting, throwing, squatting, crunching, pressing, or twisting with them, your abs should be fired-up too!

Ball practice

Start-off with some lightweight balls and keep the movements slow whilst you focus on your technique.  After a few training sessions, you can speed up the actions, but remember to maintain good control at all times.

Make sure you get proper instruction on technique as even lightweight medicine balls can cause injury.

So whether you're a beginner, seasoned exerciser needing some inspiration or training for the Tough Guy event, it's time you added some balls to your workouts!


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Getting into shape for the slopes

To get the most out of your ski trip, you should get your body into shape well before you hit the slopes. Ski-specific fitness training will help you to ski harder, faster, and injury-free. You'll also have more energy to party in the evening!

Feel the burn!

You should focus on exercises that simulate the moves you'll be making on the slopes. For example, start to build-up your "crouch endurance" by getting into your ski tuck position and holding it for several minutes.

Work your thighs by holding a squat position with your back flat against a wall. Build up the time you can endure in this position and/or hold weights in your hands to increase the intensity. Once you've mastered this, try lifting one heel up at at time, putting more weight on the other leg (similar to turning on the slopes).

Try placing a skipping rope on the floor and jump sideways over it with your feet fairly close together (as if you had skis on). Start with several sets of 30 to 40 seconds and gradually add time on to increase your endurance. Up the intensity by doing this in a crouch position!

Endurance and stamina

A great way to work the whole body whilst also increasing your stamina and endurance for skiing is circuit training. The three key areas to focus on are cardiovascular fitness, lower body strength training and core stability.

Perform 1 minute of each of the following exercises, then rest and move onto the next one. Each week, reduce your rest period until you just have enough time to sip some water in between exercises. Building up your endurance in this way will help you to recover quicker in between challenging ski runs.

Always warm-up before you start, and finish with a cool down and stretches.

Cardiovascular fitness

  • Jogging on the spot, skipping, step-ups, jumping jacks, squat thrusts etc

Muscular strength and power

  • Squats (include some challenging variations such as one-legged squats, plié squats, narrow squats, half squats, squat calf raises, squat kicks etc.)
  • Lunges (include some challenging variations such as skater lunges, lunges with knee lifts, lunges with back leg raised, walking lunges, half lunges etc).
  • Calf-raises. Try doing these on a step and/or on one leg.

Increase the intensity of any of the above by holding dumbbells.

Core strength, agility and balance

  • Crunches, reverse curls and back extensions to target your core muscles
  • Holding the plank position to increase your core stability. Try different variations on this including plank walking, reverse planks, side planks etc.
  • Exercises using stability balls, medicine balls and wobble boards to develop your balance and agility

Improving your overall fitness

Aerobic endurance activities such as running, cycling and hill walking should also be included into your fitness plan. As with all of the above, you should try to increase the intensity and duration of these activities over the weeks leading up to your trip.

If this has whetted your appetite and you fancy some ski-specific training, please give me a call on 07941 851 778 or email heather@hafitness.com. We can arrange to meet up for one-to-one sessions, partner training, or small group classes. Why not get your friends together for a pre-ski workout?


Posted by Heather Waghorn.