Matlock / Bakewell gym - Blog

The Woodlands newsletter: Monday 23rd November 2020

Monday 23rd November 2020


I am not a mental health practitioner. But being a personal trainer means you often have to connect with people in a personal context.

People will confide in you or talk about things they wouldn't talk about with their friends or family. Sometimes it's a bit like being a Church confessional. Behind all the jokes and the banter you have to actually care about people. You have to want them to succeed and be happy.

November has always been a rough month for people's mental health and throwing a winter lockdown into the mix will exacerbate the issue. So as a personal trainer, I can't diagnose or treat any mental health issues - but I can do my utmost to alleviate the effects. By listening. Or being funny. Or distracting you from your anxieties or your concerns.

But then again, these are things we can all do. And if you don't know how to listen or be funny, then maybe just try not be rude, aggressive, judgemental or obnoxious. Try to be nice.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

What's more, research shows that the number of people seeking the advice and support of personal trainers to help manage mental health issues is increasing.

There is obviously a link between mental health and exercise.

As personal trainers, we have the ability to change people's lives for the better - helping them to reach their physical goals through exercise and develop healthier minds in the process.

Being active is not just a great way for people to stay fit - but it can also have a powerful effect on their mental wellbeing. For many years, physical and mental health were seen as two separate areas but, recently, there's been a positive shift in the way mental health is viewed and approached.

During exercise, natural, mood-boosting chemicals are released into the body, such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, while harmful, stress-related chemicals are reduced.

Physical activity can have a strong and positive effect on mental wellbeing and some mental illnesses - increasing self-esteem and reducing stress, anxiety and depression to improve quality of life.

So, our work as a PT is not only helping to make people healthier, but happier too - a reason for us to feel good about what you do every single day!

Every client is different:

With mental health being such a complex area of human science, it's important we remember every mental illness is different - and each person's mental health is unique to them.

That being said, there's no "one size fits all" approach to supporting the mental health of your clients and the benefits of exercise may take a while to be seen. It's all part of a longer journey and needs to be viewed as a marathon rather than a sprint; something important to communicate with your clients to help them stay motivated.

As always, we design your training programmes around what makes our clients comfortable and adapt them as you identify what's working versus what's not.

Okay, so now we're in tier 3. This doesn't affect the gym. Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue - so we can (weather permitting) go back to doing the classes / group sessions outside.

So the above is one option. Anybody for kettlebell and HIIT classes in the car park again?

Considering the time of year, outside sessions might not be a consistent option - so I'm going to make the class time slots either free 1-to-1 PT sessions for all the group/class members (ideally 1 per week each so there are enough to go round).

Another idea is to set out equipment, prepare workouts and create boxes for you to train in, sticking to the 2 metres, and I'll be nearby watching over you.

Until the end of this lockdown 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 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,


How do you gain muscle?

The Hulk just has to get mad to gain muscle. You'll have to lift stuff.

If you want to build muscle, you're gonna have to lift heavy things and eat in a way that your body has enough calories and protein to build that muscle.

This makes logical sense.

1). Lift heavy things
2). Eat a diet based on your goals
3). Rest so your body can recover

Let's chat about each one quickly.

1) If you're looking to build muscle, you're gonna need to lift heavy things.

When you lift an object (or your own bodyweight) enough times, your muscles reach the point of failure. This causes your muscles to tear and breakdown.

When your muscle rebuilds itself following the workout, it'll be bigger and stronger than before. Then you do it again.

As long as you are eating enough to rebuild your muscle, you'll get stronger!

2) Eat a diet based on your goals. Because your muscle needs to be rebuilt after exercise, the calories are gonna need to come from somewhere. I'll talk a lot about proper diet in the next newsletter, so I won't spend too much time on it here.

Just know that eating the right quantity of foods will be a big part of gaining muscle.

3) Rest. Your body rebuilds itself while you sleep, so make sure you get plenty of rest each night. I'm talking 7-8+ hours. This will help ensure your body has the time it needs to grow stronger.

If you're strength training and only getting 6 hours of sleep a night or less, you're really doing yourself a disservice. Go to bed!

That's the short gist of how to build strength: challenge your muscles, eat well, and get some rest.

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

Have you lost weight then gained it all back?

If you've ever tried to lose weight, you know it's not easy to make it last. In fact, there are a few key problems you should pay attention to before the diet even starts. Here are a few of the most common problems and ways you can avoid them.

After losing those pounds you suddenly feel that, overnight, your body has changed, making you a charter member of the exclusive "fast-metabolism-I-can-eat-whatever-I want" club.

Then one morning you wake up and the reflection in the mirror reveals a truth that cannot be denied. You were never in the club.

Not only have you regained the weight you lost, you've actually added more pounds. When this happens, you probably feel frustrated, ashamed, powerless, and you're probably ready to throw up your hands in defeat.

When you lose weight, you need to keep the weight off by eating the same types of foods that helped you shed the pounds—not by going back to consuming whole boxes of cookies in front of the TV. But it is not obvious to most.

Most dieters are restricting foods, and not planning a liveable diet.

What is a liveable diet?

It's a diet you can live with for the rest of your life. So let me ask you a quick question: How long can you hold your breath? If you're good, maybe 30 or 40 seconds. So, yes, you can do it, but only for a very short period of time. Well, that's how most people diet - they can do it for a bit, but they can't keep holding their breath forever.

To come up with a liveable diet you need to find foods you can eat that are healthy and tasty, instead of thinking about what you can't eat. Make sure to find foods that are not boring and bland.

The most important factor to consider when you create a livable diet is accommodating your own individual food preferences. In fact, taste is the single most important reason people choose the foods they do - and that this is also an important factor for regulating hunger, satiety and voluntary food intake.

Not sure how to choose the foods for your liveable diet?

Look for "Calorie Bargains" -foods that taste great but are healthier and lower in calories than what you normally eat (and that you won't end up eating too much of - which would negate the Calorie Bargain effect).

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

Exercise of the week: Hanging knee raise twist

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

Twist your body and raise your knees to one side, then return to the start.

Continue, alternating sides..

Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

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

Vegetarian fajitas


400g can black beans, drained
Small bunch coriander, finely chopped
4 large or 8-12 small flour tortillas
1 avocado, sliced, or 1 small tub guacamole
2 tbsp soured cream

For the fajita mix:

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 tbsp oil
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
1 lime, juiced


To make the fajita mix, take two or three strips from each colour of pepper and finely chop them. Set aside. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the remaining pepper strips and the onion until soft and starting to brown at the edges. Cool slightly and mix in the chopped raw peppers.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 min, then add the spices and stir. Cook for a couple of mins more until the spices become aromatic, then add half the lime juice and season. Transfer to a dish, leaving any juices behind, and keep warm.

Tip the black beans into the same pan, then add the remaining lime juice and plenty of seasoning.

Stir the beans around the pan to warm them through and help them absorb any flavours of the fajita mix, then stir through the coriander.

Warm the tortillas in a microwave or in a low oven, then wrap them so they don't dry out. Serve the tortillas with the fajita mix, beans, avocado and soured cream for everyone to help themselves.


Useless Facts

Valentine Tapley from Pike County, Missouri grew chin whiskers attaining a length of twelve feet six inches from 1860 until his death 1910, protesting Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency.

Most Egyptians died by the time they were 30 about 300 years ago,

For some time Frederic Chopin, the composer and pianist, wore a beard on only one side of his face, explaining: "It does not matter, my audience sees only my right side."

1 in every 4 Americans has appeared someway or another on television.

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