Our main game may be exercise but whenever we can, we like to offer a little bit extra to help you achieve all of your wellbeing and healthy lifestyle goals. Nicki catches up with Kirsty Duff, one of our instructors, and Val Riddell, a recent StartFit member.StartFit small

Here’s a little surprise for you: I will be spending this weekend enjoying a chocolate egg or two!  That’s right, even though I work closely with the health and wellbeing fanatics at LAL, it is my absolute want to enjoy a treat when the opportunity presents itself.  Even more surprising… all of the LAL instructors and managers and Head Office team will be doing exactly the same! You see, for us a healthy lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle.  A way of approaching life that allows you to enjoy yourself while looking after your heart, mind and soul.

watercress 3webWhen you look at your overall health rather than one specific aspect of it – let’s say weight – then you begin to find that everything slots neatly into place.  Yes, we may need to adjust how we eat or what we drink; we may need to increase our daily steps or get that heart rate up more often; but these should all be changes that you can maintain long-term – and I don’t know about you but as much as I like a rocket salad, I couldn’t live on it forever!

Far better that you look towards finding enjoyable ways to exercise, eat and maintain a healthy weight and this was exactly what we were thinking about when Karen and I met up to chat about finding a way to source tasty, healthy recipes for the Live Active website.  We wanted ideas that were quick and easy, that might include the green juices and quinoa but would also allow for healthier options of our foodie favourites (we do NOT want to give up pizza, thank-you!). So after a chat with our friends at Small City, Big Personality we have a constant stream of their healthiest #SmallCityRecipes via their fabbie recipe widget! It really is fantastic - Check it out here on the front page>>>

So, how can LAL take this overall approach and make it work for us, the customers? Well, regular readers will remember that back in January LAL launched two new memberships – MaxFit and StartFit. StartFit Camp is a 12 week commitment meaning our first group of StartFit members are about to finish their camp and I am delighted to tell you it has been a HUGE success!

LAL combined all of their usual fantastic knowledge and expertise and then added in the extra skills that their Personal Trainers have gained throughout their advanced training qualifications.  This meant that we could advise our StartFit people on nutrition via weekly weigh ins and food diary reviews. And because it includes small group training, the membership was limited to 12 spaces for the pilot allowing the group members to build a real camaraderie.

I caught up with the fabulously motivating Kirsty McDuff, who was part of the team delivering the weigh-ins and food diary reviews.  Kirsty explained the thoughts behind a camp that would include more than just exercise:

“We wanted to offer something that would help people get started on a healthy lifestyle path. Often when you begin to get into exercise you’re motivated to look at all aspects of your life and we know from years of speaking to customers that this can often be quite daunting.  It’s not about a big meal plan or counting calories but simple things like how to snack well or what food groups to include in each meal helps people stay on the right track. 

When you start to exercise you need to eat well for energy and the food diary helps people become aware of what they’re putting into their body.  It’s not about dieting – it’s about eating the right food for your life.   We’d look at the diary entries for people and then give them back written advice and the group as a whole found this really useful. 

Building good habits will become a way of life and for us, this is the ultimate goal.  Weight loos is good if you need it but slow and steady through effective change is always better than a stone off in one month and back on three months later! 

I’m really proud of how hard everyone worked during our first StartFit camp and I can’t wait to do it all again in September!”

Of course, you’re sitting reading this thinking that Kirsty may be just a little biased! Thorough to the end I called up Val Riddell, a Start Fit member who had nothing but praise for this new camp!

“Start Fit has been a lifesaver for me.  I have two young kids and a full time job and I’d say that since my youngest was born in 2007 I’ve never really felt like myself.  I saw the programme and liked the mix of classes, training and food diary checks – I can honestly say I’ve not fallen off the wagon yet. I’ve found it really useful to have the help of the team on hand and I think the overall approach to lifestyle changes is exactly what I’ve needed.

I did get quite a shock when I had my blood sugar and cholesterol checked – both were in the unhealthy range and it was a real wake up call. Over the years I’ve been a bit overweight and maybe a bit unfit but seeing that really shook me into action.

I thought the food thing was easy – too much chocolate isn’t good for you! But Kirsty really explained where I was going wrong and helped me look at things like carbs and worked with me to find a balance that suited me.  It’s been brilliant.  I’ve not lost huge amounts but I’ve lost a little every week and I have certainly peeled off the inches. The main thing for me though is the energy – I feel great.

I also think that being in the small group helped keep me motivated. Sometimes it’s quite intimidating to go into a gym but here you were encouraged to do your best and pushed to just the right level.  I’ve never worked so hard and yet I feel great! That in itself has helped me get over my fear of the gym and I’ll be joining up as a fully-fledged Live Active Member!

In an ideal world you’d be able to go and buy a bag of energy but the truth is, all you can do is look after yourself.  I really hope they do this again and I would urge anyone thinking about making a start on their lifestyle to sign up – it’s been amazing.”


Look out for our next Start Fit class coming to you in September. If you'd like to be notified of this please contact us.