Women and Weight Training


This social media gem has been circulating for some time now, any yet still at least once a day
I have women, and men for that matter, utter the phrase, “I don’t want to do weights as I don’t want to get massive like a body builder”. Well let’s look a little further into this;

Muscle tissue is what we term metabolically active tissue. This basically means it costs the body calories to maintain it. Fat tissue is metabolically inactive tissue; it doesn’t cost the body anything in terms of energy. So right away we can see that an individual with more muscle mass will expend more energy (calories). Why would you not want to use more calories when sitting around?

In all reality muscle tissue is HARD to build. The body will only build muscle as an adaptation of it being broken down via resistant stressors and will get rid of it when it is not being used. This goes back to it costing us energy. It will only carry out this adaptive process with adequate recovery via food and sleep. When you look at people in shape i.e. bodybuilders, physique athletes and the people that litter your Instagram and Facebook feeds it is easy to think this can be achieved in as little time as a year. Honestly, it is NOT going to happen. Can you build a good amount of muscle in year? Yes of course. Can you lose a large amount of body fat in a year? Undoubtedly. And you’d probably look and feel a hell of a lot better for doing so. But the people at the top did not get there overnight and they did not get there in a year, or 12 weeks like some “rags to ripped” programme may have you believe. They have most likely been training for 10 years plus to get into that condition.

Women have roughly 10% of the natural circulating testosterone that men have. Testosterone is an essential hormone in building muscle tissue and burning fat, it is extremely useful and we want to maximise our natural production though things like saturated fat, good sleep and reduced lifestyle stress. Utilising weight training will also boost your testosterone levels with compound movements such as squats, pushes, pulls, lunges etc. Don’t be afraid of attacking the weights, get in, work hard and get out. Build some muscle and when it comes to revealing that summer body you’ll have something to show!

If you are looking for that “toned” look then you need to be embracing some of these aspects of training. No one ever got a defined toned figure doing 60mins of treadmill, cross-trainer and bike work. It’s a great way to keep the heart healthy and use some fuel but with no muscle to reveal it is unlikely to get you the body you’re after.


HIIT Training


People spend longer in the gym than they need too. A lot of people follow the same exercise programme for a number of months, which is great as they have a plan to follow and a good routine. However, after a while, your body gets used to the exercises that you do which can lead to the person not seeing as much progress/change to their body as they would like too.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. This type of training is great for people who do not have much time to spend exercising.

HIIT means working at a high level by doing short bursts of exercise. This allows your heart rate to stay up in the high zone which means you will burn fat effectively without having to spend hours in the gym.

I would recommend HIIT to everyone who would like to hit their own individual fitness targets without becoming bored and demotivated.

– Jess

Recipe for Homemade Protein Bars


236g Peanut Butter (crunchy is great)
226g Honey
105g Whey Protein Powder
85g Porridge Oats
50g 85% Dark Chocolate (Optional)


1. Place the peanut butter and honey into a bowl and microwave on full power for 80 seconds. They should end up as a thick warm substance.
2. Add the whey and oats and mix together, if they don’t quite mix add a touch of water. You can add raisins/nuts etc to taste.
3. Optional – Melt the chocolate in the microwave and add to the mixture at this point.
4. Pour into a 13 x 9 buttered tray and leave for 20 minutes.
5. Cut into 10 to 12 equal bars, wrap and store in the fridge.


It’s National Heart Month


February is National Heart Month. All month the British Heart Foundation are out promoting healthy hearts. They do this by asking you to make small changes to your daily habits.

The heart is an absolutely incredible tool. It beats around 100 000 times per day, to move around 3600 gallons of blood through 75 miles of blood vessels.

Sadly the heart takes the brunt of a lot of our lifestyle choices. In the UK alone around 160 000 people die from heart and circulatory disease. Every 7 minutes someone in the UK has a heart attack. This is bad in itself, but when you find out 1.2 million men and 900 000 women live with chronic angina, you really start to think.

Being a health club,  we naturally advocate exercise and diet as the way to battle against these heart-related issues. There are other things like stress and smoking also adding to this huge problem.

So, exercise, you knew that would be our number 1 right? There are so many benefits to exercise, that you would get bored of us listing them here. The biggest benefits are weight control and heart exercise. We have a great tool in the club to help you make sure you are training your heart hard enough and long enough. MyZone. MyZone helps you know just how hard you are working by showing your heart rate in 5 different exercise zones. MyZone recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, that is blue and green zones. Or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, red and yellow zones. Or of course, you could do a combination of the 2. The great thing about MyZone is it takes all the guess work out of it, and tells you all about your exercise session, and effort.

myzone tv 1280 x 720.indd

Nutrition goes hand in hand with exercise. If you are not putting good clean fuel in your body, how can you expect your body to run smoothly?

To start with, control your portion size. Using a smaller plate helps, but if you are loading your plate up make sure you load it with fruit and veg. The more colourful (naturally) your plate of food looks the better.

In terms of grains, of course, Whole Grains are the way forward. Things like whole-wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, barley whole-grain bread etc. If it say whole, go for it.

Reduce your salt. You should be aiming for just 1500mg of salt per day. Too much and you are opening up to a risk of high blood pressure.

There are many ways you can be healthier, if you smoke, you already know you should stop.

Laughter has been proven to help. An article in the Huffington Post tells you about how laughter can lower stress levels, and we know what stress does to you. You can read the article here.

New Atrium Fitness Logo......

We love exercising and helping people obtain a healthy lifestyle. We have been doing it since 1992 and have helped thousands of people, and we can help you too. Give us a call on 01353 668888 or email matt@atriumclub.com to find out how we can make National Heart month be the month you change your life.

Coming in February is our brand new eGYM Circuit. Read more about it by clicking the eGYM logo.

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Go Bananas for Bananas

BANANA for Breakfast anyone???

This is interesting. After reading this, you’ll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fibre. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes.

But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.

This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

200 students at a Twickenham school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

High in fibre, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system..

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicle cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Many other cultures see bananas as a ‘cooling’ fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has FOUR TIMES the protein, TWICE the carbohydrate, THREE TIMES the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, ‘A BANANA a day keeps the doctor away!’

Jess’s Vitamin C Boosting Smoothie Recipe

Here is a recipe for a fantastically nutritious vitamin c boosting smoothie created by our very own Jess.

1 large cup of Almond Milk
2 large handfuls of Spinach
4 large Strawberries
Handful of Blueberries

Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz.

Don’t let the colour put you off (it is green) as it tastes delicious.

Getting Pain While Spinning?

Spin is one of our most popular classes here and is a world-wide smash in indoor exercise! It offers refuge during the winter months for the road cyclists and some people just like being out of breath for 45 minutes.
However, on a spin bike we see less than optimal posture. The ankles commonly sit in planter flexion, knees and hips are both flexed and the mid to upper back is sitting in flexion. Is this an issue? Continue reading Getting Pain While Spinning?

Tom’s SegWay Experience 2015

Monday morning of this week, Tom went on a SegWay Experience. He took Christie, Michelle and Kier with him. The voucher was provided for Tom by Atrium Fitness as a Christmas present. Here’s how it went.


The group of us travelled to Grafham Water together for a 9am start on Monday morning. Excited but nervous, none of us knew what was in store for us. We signed ourselves in and got kitted up. After a lot of laughing and photo’s in stupid poses we got started.

For those of you that have never been on a SegWay, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced. They are so much fun and yet you feel in and out of control the whole time! We had to show we could have basic control of the SegWay before being let off out onto the trails. So we all had a go, we were all in hysterics. Videos were taken of us all having our first step on. Interesting to say the least.

Once we had shown the instructors that we had basic control of the SegWay, it was time for a couple of games. We had two other people in our group that we still have no idea of their names… Anyway. First off, head to head drag race. We lined up in two lines of 3, so that we faced one other. Off we went, head to head, one followed by the other two in the line racing against our opposing team, 3 seconds there, turn round using the lean bar and race back as quick as possible!

Next up was a slalom. cones were set up, 4 turns on the way there, round the end cone and then back through the slalom but this time with one hand on our head! When we crossed the line again we had to high five our opponent so that they could start. Once we had all got a feel for how the SegWay worked and had finished the games we went off into the forest trails to have a little ride over the rough terrain.

There were two trails we went on, the first of which was a short track that we did two laps on laughing the whole time, following the instructor we went in single file racing around the tight track trying to miss the trees. The whole time the instructors were taking pictures.

After we had done our laps on the short track, we headed off on a 10 minute journey round another track that took us through the forest near grafham water, and right onto the waters edge, before heading back through a different track in the forest and back to the centre.

The whole experience was incredible, a good laugh, and definitely worth another day out!

Celebrate National Fitness Day – 9th September 2015


We are celebrating National Fitness Day, and we would love everyone to come and join us. We are opening our doors for anyone (over 16) to come and try our gym, classes and pool area. We are putting on a series of taster classes for people to try, the schedule is below.

NFD timetable picture

All of the classes on the 9th September will be on a first come first served basis. We will be back to normal on the 10th. Members can bring guests along for free and show them their club. We will be having regular demos of our new BoxMaster.BoxMaster-with-base-withKickpad