Matlock / Bakewell gym - Blog

The Woodlands newsletter: Monday 16th November 2020

Monday 16th November 2020


Life is changing for us all for a little while. But just another 16 days until this lockdown ends.

Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines - try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or calling a friend)

Do things you enjoy:

Focussing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood.

Set goals:

Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose - think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home.

Keep your mind active:

Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting. Find something that works for you. During lockdown, I've written a young adult novel. For example.

Take time to relax and focus on the present:

Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety.

Get outside or bring nature in:

Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing.

Sit in your garden if you can, open windows to let in fresh air or look at a nice view or some photos.

Remember that social distancing guidelines enable you to go outside to exercise once a day as long as you keep 2 metres apart from others who are not members of your household group.

Please don't forget that we are offering online coaching, calorie target setting, nutritional guidance and workout plans free to all our members. Message me with your requirements.

So why not do our Zoom sessions? Either 1-2-1 or Group sessions. You don't have to have the mic or the camera on.

I'm more than happy to do a bodyweight, HIIT or kettlebell workout outside. If not, just swing by for a chat. We can sit outside, 2 metres apart and we can just have a chat.

Take action for happiness:

Stay calm. Be wise. Be kind. Let's take action to look after ourselves and each other as we face this global crisis.

We may be physically apart - but we can still be together through Zoom, FaceTime or similar.

We are offering all of our members a complimentary 30 minute online PT session. So it'll just you and a Woodlands trainer. You don't even have to do any exercise. If you just want to talk, then we will listen without judgement. Think of it as a Church confessional.     

So please contact me for your session through email, social media or any other way you can think of.

We will still be offering online coaching, diet plans and workout plans free to all our members. Again, please message us with your requirements.

We gave our members the following 4 options in regards to their direct debit:

1). Continue to pay your Direct Debit in the normal way, so that your club can retain key staff and continue to invest during this short time. If you are happy with this option, no further action is required by you.

2). Defer your DD for an initial 1 month period, if you choose this option we will respond with a separate email to confirm your next payment date. If the club continues to be closed after this 1 Month term we will contact you again before that payment is due to defer the payment for a further period of time.

3). Continue to pay your DD on the due date, but pay 50% of the monthly amount to support your club.

4). Continue to pay your DD on the due date and the money you pay can be exchanged for 1-2-1 personal training sessions. For example, if you pay £25 per month and we're closed for 2 months, you would get 2 x 45 minute PT sessions. Drop me a message and we can arrange this.

Everybody who sustains their direct debit or standing order (even at 50% of the monthly amount) during this temporary closure will be exempt from all future price increases and will retain any special offers (including our 2-4-1 offer) indefinitely.

Not everybody pays through the same direct debit company. Some people pay by standing order. Please contact me if you're not sure.

We know that training at home is not as good as training in the club but don't forget that any member whose payments are live can still have online personal training, either 1-to-1 or in groups.

As we said, we really appreciate all the members that have been able to continue their payments. They have allowed us to invest in the club and ensure we can reopen for you and our staff in the strongest possible position.

If we all abide by the rules the Government will be able to relax these restrictions - and will be hopefully be back to normal.

Stay in touch with us on socials and we will keep you updated.

For any further information please email:

Yours in fitness,


Ab Training frequency

Once upon a time, the myth was that, as "endurance" muscles, the abs should be trained every day. Now it's more common to encounter claims that you only need one dedicated core workout a week - but the truth lies somewhere in between.

Two or three abs workouts a week might be optimal for most people. Breaking it up into separate days - for static, anti-rotation work and dynamic movements - is one good option.

In this CrossFit-and-strongman era, it's a common claim that deadlifts are all the abs work you need. Dead wrong. In fact, the most recent study to compare key exercises found that press-ups and plank holds beat even heavy back squats and deadlifts for core activation.

Although the weighted movements produced the most force on the lower back, the bodyweight moves proved most effective for the rectus abdominis and external obliques.

You should know by now that doing hundreds of sit-ups is doing nothing good for your back, but that doesn't mean you ought to ditch spinal flexion entirely. But a few are fine.

I hope all of the above makes sense but if you have any questions please come and ask me.

What is easier to do: Burn more calories or consume less?

Numbers will help tell the story: though this is a gross oversimplification.

Let's use the 'widely accepted' starting point of 3,500 calories equals roughly one pound of fat.

If you want to lose one pound - or half a kilogram - of body fat in a week (a worthy, sustainable goal for some), you would need to create a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day: either through

Consuming 500 fewer calories
Burning 500 more calories
A combination of the two

Which half is easier to affect?

Here are both halves of that equation. 500 calories equals:

The number of calories found in a 88% of a Big Mac (which is typically 219g and 562 calories).

An estimate of the calories required to run five miles.

Yes, you will have to run for a long time to burn 500 calories.


When it comes to maintaining a caloric deficit, it really comes down to diet.

It's significantly more effective and time-efficient to consume 500 fewer calories than it is to burn 500 additional calories.

Exercise alone won't make you thin. It's too easy to add more calories in, and requires too much work to effectively influence "calories out."

Which brings us to our slightly less simple answer on how to lose body fat:

You need to watch what you eat, and do so in a sustainable way.

We are firm believers that 80-90% of the fat loss equation comes down to diet.

Here's another idea we focus on: EAT MOSTLY REAL FOOD.

Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts are all great examples of REAL food.

These foods are very nutrient dense and often low in calories compared to their processed counterparts. Which means you get filled up without overeating.

Have you ever seen the difference between 200 calories of broccoli and 200 calories of a bagel?

That's why REAL food is the answer to creating a sustainable caloric deficit.

Most people can eat an entire bagel no problem. Plates of broccoli, with all of the fibre, are much tougher to overeat.

We advise you to take it slow - so new habits of healthy eating become permanent. Something you can stick to for the rest of your life.

What you eat will be 80%-90% of the equation to lose body fat.

The other 10-20%? Yeah, that's Exercise.

Of course it's exercise. Next week I will talk about how YOU Can GAIN MUSCLE.

I hope all of the above makes sense but if you have any questions please come and ask me.

Exercise of the week: Hanging leg raise

Fair warning, this tough exercise sets the tone for what is going to be a brutal workout involving four different hanging exercises.

Start in a dead hang with your legs straight and your knees and ankles touching.

Keep them together as your use your lower abs to raise them, then lower back to the start under control.

I hope all of the above makes sense but if you have any questions please come and ask me.

Chicken (or King Prawn) Makhani


230g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato puree
2-3 cm piece grated root ginger
2 or 3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 green chillis, deseeded (or leave them in if you like it hot!)
200ml chicken stock
15g ground almonds
1 teaspoon sugar
1 200g pack of cooked chicken tikka fillets (I used King prawns, cooked)
1 tbsp reduced fat butter
1 tsp garam masala
Bunch fresh coriander


Place chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, ginger, garlic, chillis, chicken stock in a saucepan and simmer fairly briskly, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and reduced.

Stir in the ground almonds, sugar and chicken pieces (or King Prawns), heating through gently for about 7 minutes.

Stir in the butter, garam masala and coriander. Serve straightaway, with some plain boiled rice or a naan bread.


Useless Facts

The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30ft.

One third of all cancers are sun related.

THE MOST UNUSUAL CANNONBALL: On two occasions, Miss 'Rita Thunderbird' remained inside the cannon despite a lot of gunpowder encouragement to do otherwise. She performed in a gold lamé bikini and on one of the two occasions (1977) Miss Thunderbird remained lodged in the cannon, while her bra was shot across the Thames River.

It has been estimated that humans use only 10% of their brain.

The Woodlands Fitness Centre Ltd
A: Unit 27, Molyneux Business Park, Darley Dale, Derbyshire, DE4 2HJ
T: (01629) 733 123