Matlock / Bakewell gym - Blog

The Woodlands newsletter: Sunday 5th November 2023

Sunday 5th November 2023


Are abs made in the kitchen?

The saying "abs are made in the kitchen" emphasises the importance of nutrition in achieving visible abdominal muscles. While exercise plays a role in strengthening and toning the abdominal muscles, having visible abs is primarily dependent on having a low body fat percentage.

The abdominal muscles are present in everyone, but they may not be visible if they are covered by a layer of body fat. To reveal the abdominal muscles, it is necessary to reduce overall body fat through a combination of a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.

Maintaining a calorie deficit, where you consume fewer calories than your body needs, is crucial for losing body fat.

This can be achieved by consuming a balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense foods, controlling portion sizes, and avoiding excessive intake of processed foods, added sugars, and unhealthy fats.

In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise, including cardio and strength training, can help burn calories, increase overall energy expenditure, and contribute to reducing body fat.

Strength training exercises that target the core muscles can also help build and define the abdominal muscles.

It is important to remember that everyone's body composition and genetics are different, and the visibility of abdominal muscles may vary from person to person. Achieving visible abs requires dedication, consistency, and a holistic approach that includes both proper nutrition and regular exercise.

We can provide personalised guidance and recommendations for achieving your specific goals.

For more guidance, tips and information, please read the rest of our newsletter.

But first, here are our opening times, links to our website, some prices and more...

Gym Only memberships:

Joint/Student (per month):

12 months: £24
3 months: £27
1 month: £29

Single (per month):

For single prices, please check our special offers:

Student prices are only for students in full time education.

Small Group Personal Training:

How would you like to have personal training every single time you attend Woodlands?

Well now you can!

Our Small Group PT membership offers an appointment controlled personal training system where a personal trainer will train up to 6 members at any one time.

We offer a variety of group exercise sessions throughout the day to help you achieve you build fitness, strength, co-ordination and flexibility whilst burning fat.

Group sessions are strictly limited to 6 people:

There are 36 group training sessions per week, including:


We also offer '30m' groups: these 30 minute Classes Group training sessions are condensed versions of our normal 45 minute groups, designed to pack in high intensity exercise to push you to the next level and really make the most of your time here!

These shared personal training sessions are strictly limited to 6 (sometimes 8) people! This is to ensure you get a higher quality of coaching and support.

We always prefer an informal approach so we will be maintaining the booking forms in the gym.

All bookings can be made in the gym, by phone, e-mail or via social media.

How you book in isn't important; we just care that you attend regularly.

Here is a list of our group training sessions:

Small Group PT membership prices:


12 months: £30pm
3 months: £33pm
1 month: £36pm


For single prices, please check our special offers:

2 x 45membership:

This membership includes:

✔ 2 x 45 minute PT sessions per month (worth £21.25 each)
✔ Small Group PT membership
✔ Gym membership
✔ Calorie target setting advice
✔ Nutritional support
✔ Discounted additional personal training sessions

Prices (per month):

12 month: £49
3 month: £51
1 month: £53

The benefits of personal training outweigh your fears by a long shot and we can really help you achieve your goals. At Woodlands, we want to maximise your fitness experience.

Personal Training Packages:

The benefits of personal training outweigh your fears by a long shot and we can really help you achieve your goals. At Woodlands, we want to maximise your fitness experience.

Non-Member (price per session):

30 minutes:

3 sessions per week: £14.50
2 sessions per week: £15.00
1 sessions per week: £15.50

45 minutes:

3 sessions per week: £21.50
2 sessions per week: £22.00
1 sessions per week: £22.50

60 minutes:

3 sessions per week: £28.50
2 sessions per week: £29.00
1 sessions per week: £29.50
All of these PT packages include:

✔ Small Group PT membership.
✔ Gym membership.
✔ Calorie target setting advice.
✔ Nutritional support.

Members (price per session):

These prices are for those who have a Woodlands gym membership:

30 minutes:

3 sessions per week: £11.00
2 sessions per week: £11.50
1 sessions per week: £12.00

45 minutes:

3 sessions per week: £16.50
2 sessions per week: £17.00
1 sessions per week: £17.50

60 minutes:

3 sessions per week: £22.00
2 sessions per week: £22.50
1 sessions per week: £23.00

All PT packages are sold in 4 week blocks. All PT sessions must be used within a pre-agreed time period.

We use time limits with our personal training packages to encourage frequent and consistent training. Packages can be designed to your individual needs.

At least 24 hours notice of cancellation is required for all appointments just so we have sufficient time to rebook the slot. Notice of less than 24 hours will incur a full payment of the session fee. These are standard terms for all good PT's.

We can adjust the time limits in advance to take into account holidays, business trips, etc.

Opening Hours:

Monday: 7.30am 8.30pm
Tuesday: 8.30am 8.30pm
Wednesday: 7.30am 8.30pm
Thursday: 8.30am 8.30pm
Friday: 7.30am 8.00pm
Saturday: 8.00am 2.00pm
Sunday 8.00am 2.00pm

We always want to know what you think of the Woodlands Fitness Centre the gym, prices, personal training, group personal training, and anything else.

Please speak to us at the gym, email any feedback and suggestions to the email address at the end of this newsletter.



How deep should you squat?

The depth of a squat can vary depending on factors such as individual mobility, flexibility, and training goals.

However, aiming for a full range of motion is generally recommended for optimal benefits. Here are some guidelines to help you determine the appropriate depth for your squats:

1. Hip Crease Below the Knees:

In a full squat, the hip crease should ideally drop below the level of the knees. This ensures that you are achieving sufficient depth and engaging the muscles of the lower body effectively.

2. Maintain Proper Form:

While going for depth is important, it should not compromise your form. Keep your chest up, back straight, and knees tracking in line with your toes throughout the movement. Avoid rounding your back or letting your knees collapse inward.

3. Individual Mobility and Flexibility:

Everyone's body is unique, and individual hip, ankle, and hamstring mobility can impact squat depth. If you have limited mobility or flexibility, work on gradually improving these areas over time. Incorporating mobility exercises and stretches specific to your needs can help increase your range of motion.

4. Safety Considerations:

It's essential to prioritise safety when performing squats. If you experience pain or discomfort at a specific depth, it may be an indication that you have reached your current limit. Avoid pushing through pain and listen to your body to prevent injury.

5. Training Goals:

The depth of your squats can also depend on your training goals. For general fitness and strength development, aiming for a full range of motion is recommended. However, in certain sports or activities, partial squats or variations like box squats may be appropriate to target specific muscle groups or movement patterns.

Remember, it's always a good idea to seek guidance from a Woodlands trainer, especially if you are new to squatting or have specific mobility concerns. We can provide personalised advice and help you find the squat depth that works best for you.

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

Dried fruit

You might be surprised to learn that dried raisins, currants and sultanas count towards your five-a-day. Just one tablespoon equates to a portion, so think about incorporating some next time you're pouring out your breakfast cereal, making porridge or garnishing a salad.

Dried fruit is a delicious and nutritious snack that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is made by removing the water content from fresh fruit, leaving behind a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Here are some of the many benefits of incorporating dried fruit into your diet:

1. Nutrient-dense:

Dried fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals, including potassium, iron, and vitamin C. It is also a great source of fibre, which can help improve digestion and promote feelings of fullness.

2. Convenient: Dried fruit is a convenient snack option that can be eaten on the go, at work, or at home. It is lightweight and does not require refrigeration, making it a great option for travel or hiking.

3. Versatile:

Dried fruit can be used in a variety of recipes, including trail mix, granola bars, and baked goods. It can also be added to yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies for an extra boost of flavour and nutrition.

4. Long shelf life:

Dried fruit has a long shelf life and can be stored for several months without spoiling. This makes it a great option for stocking up on healthy snacks and reducing food waste.

5. Health benefits:

Studies have shown that consuming dried fruit may have a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, improving blood sugar control, and promoting healthy aging.

It's important to note that dried fruit can be high in sugar and calories, so it's important to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Look for dried fruit that is unsweetened and free of added sugars or preservatives. With its many benefits and delicious flavor, dried fruit is a healthy and convenient snack option that is worth incorporating into your diet.

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

Exercise of the week: The incline dumbbell press

The incline dumbbell press primarily targets the muscles of the chest (pectoral muscles) and the front of the shoulders (anterior deltoids). It also engages the triceps and stabiliser muscles of the core and upper body.

Here's how you can perform an incline dumbbell press:

1. Adjust an incline bench to a 45-degree angle and sit on it with a dumbbell in each hand. Place the dumbbells on your thighs, palms facing forward.

2. Slowly lie back on the bench while simultaneously lifting the dumbbells to shoulder level. Position the dumbbells to the sides of your chest, with your elbows bent and palms facing forward.

3. Take a deep breath and brace your core muscles to stabilise your body.

4. Push the dumbbells upward and away from your body in a controlled manner, extending your arms fully. Focus on pressing through your chest and shoulders while keeping your wrists aligned with your forearms.

5. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, feeling the contraction in your chest muscles.

6. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position, allowing your elbows to bend and your chest to stretch.

7. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


Keep your shoulder blades retracted and pressed against the bench throughout the movement to maintain stability and engage the chest muscles effectively.
Avoid arching your lower back excessively by keeping your core engaged and maintaining a neutral spine.
Use a weight that challenges you, but allows you to maintain proper form and control throughout the exercise.
Breathe out as you press the dumbbells up and breathe in as you lower them back down.

As with any exercise, it's important to use proper form and start with a weight that allows you to perform the exercise with good technique.

Gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable and stronger. If you are unsure about proper form or have any concerns, it's always a good idea to consult with a qualified fitness professional.

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

Recipe of the week: slow cooker chicken biryani

Here's a delicious recipe for slow cooker chicken biryani:


2 cups basmati rice
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 cup plain yogurt
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons biryani masala powder (or a mix of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cardamom)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
Sliced almonds and raisins for garnish (optional)


1. Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes, then drain.
2. In a bowl, combine the chicken, sliced onions, minced garlic, grated ginger, yogurt, diced tomatoes, biryani masala powder (or spice mix), ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, garam masala, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix well to coat the chicken evenly.

3. Heat the ghee or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is browned on all sides.

4. Transfer the chicken mixture to the slow cooker. Add the soaked and drained basmati rice, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, and chicken broth. Stir gently to combine.

5. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or until the rice is cooked and the flavors are well combined. Avoid stirring too much to prevent the rice from becoming mushy.

6. Once cooked, fluff the rice gently with a fork. Serve the chicken biryani hot, garnished with sliced almonds and raisins if desired.

Enjoy your slow cooker chicken biryani!

Things to consider

Set Realistic Goals:

When embarking on a weight loss journey, it's crucial to set achievable goals. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and disappointment. Start with small, attainable milestones that you can work toward over time, and celebrate your successes along the way.

Try Something New:

Keep things interesting by trying new exercises, workouts and activities to keep your programme fresh, keep challenging your body and preventing boredom.

Try Tart Cherries:

Tart cherries are grown exclusively in Michigan, although you might find them in the Matlock branch of Iceland.

If you are able to get your hands on them there is strong evidence to suggest they can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Need proof? Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a 12-week study that found that rats fed tart cherries showed a 9 percent belly fat reduction over those fed a standard western diet. Scientists believe this is because tart cherries are especially high in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid with strong antioxidant activity. These and other flavonoids found in tart cherries have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Track Your Food Intake:

Keeping a food diary can be eye-opening. It helps you become more aware of what you eat and how much. By tracking your meals, snacks, and beverages, you can identify areas where you can make healthier choices and manage portion control.

Interval training is good:

Twice a week, instead of going at a steady pace for 30 minutes, go easy for 3 minutes and hard for 1 minute. Repeat this pattern 5-6x!

Use Creatine:

One of the few supplements continuously proven to help with all aspects of training and performance. Consuming between 3-5g a day is a good recommendation.

Cook With Quinoa:

As far as grains go, quinoa is a great one to have around if you're looking to lose weight. It's packed with protein and fibre, and contains approximately 220 calories per cup, cooked.

What's more?

Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that offer a complete set of amino acids, meaning it can be converted directly into muscle by the body. It's also incredibly versatile, and can be eaten as part of a salad, tossed in a smoothie, or on its own as a side dish.

You Must Exercise:

A healthy diet is not enough. For natural weight loss, exercising is also essential. Make sure you have made yourself a proper regimen. Be it high intensity or moderate level; try hitting the gym at least four times a week.

Useless Facts

Some individuals express concern sharing their soap, rightly so, considering 75% of all people wash from top to bottom.

Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Dan Kirk pajamas.

Conception occurs most in the month of December.

CBS' "60 Minutes" is the only TV show without a theme song/music.

Sophie Wilson couldn't go to school because she was considered a weapon.

Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace.

Previous newsletters:

The Woodlands newsletter: Sunday 22nd October 2023:

The Woodlands newsletter: Sunday 15th October 2023:

The Woodlands newsletter: Sunday 8th October 2023:

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