257 calories to go!

Like many people with an Apple Watch, I’ve become obsessed with “closing the rings” on the fitness app. So much so that it’s become my new favourite watch face. For anyone not in the know, “closing the rings” is the equivalent of completing a certain number of steps, burning a certain number of calories or even standing a certain number of times throughout the day. “Closing the rings” has become a major part of my day.

Full disclosure, I’m a massive Apple fanboy.


The rise of tech in fitness has been phenomenal. Long gone are the days of bulky, uncomfortable heart rate monitors strapped to your chest. Now fitness trackers have become the norm. They’re a statement, a fashion accessory and a tool for fitness all-in-one. You’ve probably seen a colleague proudly sporting one or you may have one yourself.

But do they make a difference?


According to a recent study by John Jakicic in the Journal of the American Medical Association, fitness wearables may not lead to increased weight loss. In the study, Jakicic hypothesised that wearables would be helpful in promoting weight loss. However, the study found that the opposite was true. In the study, 470 people who were overweight were split into two groups over two years. One was assigned a low-calorie diet, increased physical activity and counselling. The other group were prescribed the same, but were given wearable technology six months in. The people in the first group used a website to self-monitor their diet and exercise whilst the second group used the wearable device.

Surprisingly, the group using the wearables lost significantly less weight than those who used the website. On average, they lost 7.7lbs compared to 13lbs for the non-wearables group. One possible theory for the result is that when the wearables group saw their physical activity throughout the day, they felt a false sense of security and would then eat more. The wearables may also be discouraging for people unaccustomed to exercise as they may see the goal as too far away to be achievable.

This is only one study, but it does pose an interesting question.

In my experience, anything that encourages people to move and be active can only be a good thing. There are still question marks over how accurate they are and whether this amount of obsession with tracking is necessarily a good thing, but I certainly won’t be taking my Apple Watch off anytime soon.

In fact, fitness has become the main focus of the Apple Watch. If you saw the most recent Apple keynote, you will have noticed that all of the new features of the Apple Watch Series 2 are entirely focussed on improving the device as a fitness tracker. There are of course many different wearables available on the market and I’m particularly looking forward to getting my hands on the new Fitbits.

I’m also excited to see how wearables can be integrate into group exercise and the future developments in this area. Stay tuned…

Wearables aren’t just limited to the average fitness enthusiast, however. They’ve become a staple in many professional sports. In fact, one incredibly successful team attributed their recent success to their use of tech within the analysis of the game. They are the Golden State Warriors.

They were the first team to use on-court cameras to track the passing and shooting of all their players. They also use wearables during practice sessions to monitor their heart rates, movement and stamina. The Golden State Warriors are constantly pushing the boundaries on how tech can be used inside and outside the sport to keep the team winning and progressing.

How can we apply these advances to our own training? It’s too soon to say. It is however, a very exciting time for tech within fitness.

…249 Calories to go…



“I just don’t have the time!”

Something I hear in so many conversations about physical activity is “I know its good for me but there just aren’t enough hours in the day, I just don’t have the time!” Of course there is a common, apparent easy response which is “you should make time!” Anything that can benefit you physically, mentally, socially and therefore in turn economically has to be worth pursuing. However if you look at any study/ survey around what people use as their ‘barriers’ to exercise and activity the age old problem of ‘time‘ is given in the majority of cases. In fact I’m sure many of you reading this may feel the same, you’d like to do more but in the end you ‘just can’t find the time‘ to be active. Well, in the spirit of an URBANFITNESS London evidence based approach to cut through what I firmly believe is an absolute myth and to be frank B.S. regarding time for exercise and activity lets look at an example…Also as in all things in life you should look at yourself first before guiding others so let’s analyse and critique myself as to be fair I’m a very real example of this process.

Before I start, the caveat to this example is it applies to everyone and all activities/ sports. So here goes…some of you may or may not know, I’m a passionate racing cyclist and with what can only be described as an absolute suffer, ‘hurt-locker,’ constant pain threshold sport comes the commitment to be as fit as possible in order to compete at whatever level. I know this and many times ‘hitting the wall’ (physically not literally…although literally does happen occasionally) during a race only serves to ensure I push myself harder to be better next time. There is an old adage in cycling that no matter how good or quick you think you are there is always somebody much faster and therefore better and that is absolutely true. However in order to constantly try and improve race fitness, comes the need to train and in turn time to do this. Cycling as a sport requires more time than most to train so again others I know who cycle maybe less than I always complain “they don’t have the time!”

Its no surprise to me as I started to focus more on structuring my training last season, drop weight and race more people including friends and family said the likes of “Ah but J you are always on your bike and you have the time so no wonder you are doing better!” So I thought actually let’s look at what the actual facts are, as in most things in life people base decisions, opinions and ultimately choice (see last months blog from Will) on complete myths when you actually peel back the layers and look at the evidence. Therefore lets do just that and then we can all compare and understand what ‘time to exercise’ actually means…For this I need a simple Rachel Riley esq piece of maths:

Available hours in the week = 168 (7days x 24hrs)

Hours asleep = 56 (7days x 8hrs which is one hour over what research has shown as the optimal 7hrs sleep per night, so I’m giving you all a lie-in every day!)

Hours at work = 50 (5days x 10hrs which is over the standard working week and includes travel to/ from work time)

Hours remaining to do whatever you want = 62

Hours that JW spends training on his bike/ in the gym each week = 10 (I’d like it to be more as 15 would certainly improve my performance but 10 is sufficient for the level I compete at)

Therefore % of actual free time spent training = 16%

My conclusion… don’t tell me that I’m always ‘on my bike’ or training ‘in the gym’ as I’m not, 16% of my free time is by no means a great deal. As you can see, here is a very real example that sleep, work, family time, TV time, socialising with friends etc should not get in the way of your exercise and activity, it simply shouldn’t and anybody who tells you/ me different is kidding themselves. To put this in an even simpler context the UK government recommends you spend just a minimum of 2.5hrs (150 mins) being active each week alongside 2 strength based sessions which involve all of the major muscle groups. In the above example that is just 4% of my available free time! Wow that’s easy…what’s even easier is if I get off the tube one stop earlier each day in order to walk to and from work, plus get down to the gym at least twice a week I am more than covered and then starting to really build a solid base of activity to take care of myself.

In summary what I am saying is that ‘finding the time’ is a myth, you are actually choosing NOT to exercise and therefore you can positively effect that by choosing TO exercise. The simple fact is ‘we all have the time to improve and extend our lives’ and that is what exercise and activity brings…so no excuses or poor choices get out there/ down to us at Sugar House and have fun!

Jonathan W


The magic beans of training and choice?!

All, if not most of us have tried a fad diet, multiple different training routines and various pieces of ‘wonder kit’ yet we are all still looking for that quick fix…all in one magic bean.

The ‘fence’ in this situation is that there is no quick fix all in one magic bean, sorry guys! The hurdle however, is that it can all start to work if you simply master the choices you make.

We make hundreds of choices every day. Some we procrastinate over for days if not months at a time. Others, more often than not we make in a split second, usually because “so and so did it first.”

A snap poorly judged choice is a wasted opportunity to better yourself and that’s the end goal we all share and have in common. After all we are all trying to better ourselves somehow, in one form or another, be that spiritually, mentally or physically. This can’t be argued with as it’s absolutely the reason why you joined our club.

So what are choices when you stop for a second and actually think about them? The dictionary can define this process as:

‘An act of choosing between two or more possibilities and the right or ability to choose.’

Summed up, choices are actually a luxury, if you have a choice you have options and when you have options there are multiple gains to be made. However you must learn to stay cool and not feel under pressure to make a snap decision. Positive choices made are an opportunity to better yourself, to pass go and collect £200 worth of winning at life!

Marginal gains make choices work

When you apply the theory of marginal gains to your choice selection re an active and healthy lifestyle the process becomes much simpler and makes absolute sense.

Marginal gains works from making lots of smaller incremental increases to make a greater overall change or increase.

Therefore, if you can make one good diet choice, a good lifestyle choice and one good behavioural choice every day that’s a small % daily increase in your general wellbeing which in turn will make you feeling better increasing your concentration and allow you to work harder. The benefits from this can then become endless.


A good dietary choice can be as simple as only having the Mars bar as your treat when Game of Thrones is on and leave the family size bar of Cadburys, tub of Ben and Jerry’s and Cinema styled toffee popcorn for another time, that’s a diet % increase.

Add a behavioural choice such as choosing to rebel against your inner child and going to bed an hour earlier, rather than waiting till you fall asleep on the sofa. That’s a positive % increase and a better quality of sleep.

Choose to get off two stops before your scheduled tube station and do the unthinkable in London, walk to your destination! That can add 30 minutes+ to your daily step count each day and again that’s a % increase in your daily well-being.

Make the small changes and let the small rewards accumulate into a big improvement each month, every month. The results as we are seeing with many of our members who are embracing this approach can be amazing.

A little food for thought I hope where can you make small changes and easy beneficial choices. So in summary here are my magic beans of mastering choices.

Magic bean No 1: Take time and make thoughtful choices!

Magic bean No 2: ‘Weigh-up’ up the personal gains. What do you gain from your choice and what do you lose from not choosing the other(s)?

Magic bean No 3: Never make food choices when you are hungry

Magic bean No 4: Are you going to regret your choice? Aim never to regret even if you have to be sensible and boring from time to time.

Magic bean No 5: Don’t let others make your choices for you! THEY ARE YOURS, for YOU to benefit from so please tell Sally to go and make her own choices.

Magic bean No 6: Make ONE food choice a day that just makes you happy and that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be unhealthy, it’s your choice at the end of the day! This means be realistic and go for small changes that last.

The basic truth then is you will invariably live longer! Wow, that’s powerful stuff….


Ladies who lift? Hell-yeah!

Today I woke up with sore back muscles and then I thought, oh yea that’s right, I did deadlifting and weighted rows yesterday (which by the way, the soreness only lasted an hour and is quite a normal physical response.)

Being a dancer I have been very active my whole life. From the ages of 17-23 I was dancing or doing yoga and pilates 6-7 hours a day, 5 days a week. I was brought up with the belief system that ‘body weight exercises are all a women needs’ and ‘heavy lifting weights are for big grunting males only’. How wrong was I?

I have been in a gym 3-4 days a week since I can remember but until recently had never stepped onto a squat rack. I think in all honesty I was scared of them. Being quite petite and small I was scared of looking weak and being judged. I was also wrongly assuming that lifting heavy weights would build bulk and muscle blockages, something a dancer can never have.  Well for all of you women out there that still believe this, I’ll tell you that muscle growth is directly related to testosterone levels. Men have far more testosterone than women which means no matter how strong we are and how much we can lift, becoming a female Hercules just isn’t factual. We can definitely build strength, power and muscle definition, but without an external input of testosterone we will not sway towards a masculine type figure.

When I was kid I danced everyday, before and after school. A minimum of three hours a day was considered the ‘norm’ if you wanted to make dancing a career. In doing this I was putting my body through enormous amounts of exercise without creating the foundations to work effectively and efficiently. It is no wonder so many dancers get injured at a young age as the correct muscular activations and connections haven’t yet been developed.

As a female with a small frame I was told that compound full body exercises (whole body movements as opposed to for example your single joint bicep curl) were the best and only way to build strength and endurance whilst staying slim. However, on top of this belief, a major underlying issue that kept me from trying weightlifting was that I felt intimidated by all the big males that often take over the gym floor. I would prance into the gym with my pink sports bra and ponytail and feel like everyone was staring at me if I even went close to a resistance machine. Of course this was all in my head and no one at all was judging me, but I was scared of the unknown. Looking back now I should have simply asked a fitness coach for help. All I really needed was knowledge and confidence in my strength to feel comfortable.

Although I threw myself into many different forms of exercise I never took myself to the supposed ‘heavy lifting’ area of the gym. In actual fact, my friends and I would hit the gym, do 20 minutes cardio followed by some sit ups and press ups, then stretch for another 20 minutes and claim that we were doing great workouts. We would focus on only body weight compound exercises (using up to 4kg dumbbells max, if any) and even then we didn’t push ourselves as hard as we could.  In many ways full body compound exercises are amazing and a necessity for physical development, but standing alone they are not all that women need. We actually need to be training just like men, with a balance of cardiovascular training, flexibility, endurance and strength, including weight training. This is because, in order for our bodies to change and adapt we need to put it under aspects of stress. One effective way of doing this is to add an external weight to the body whilst performing exercise (of course correct form when executing your exercises is an absolute must if you want to develop). Whether you want to feel stronger or burn calories the muscular adaptation that occurs after weight lifting will help you achieve your goal. Sounds simple right? But I only just came to this realization!

After starting working at URBANFITNESS London and doing more of my own anatomy studies I began to question my previous fears and beliefs about women lifting weight. Was all that I believed about females doing heavy weights a myth? The answer is most definitely YES.

I have been kindly introduced to the proper techniques of barbell squats, deadlifts, chest and overhead presses etc by some of our amazing coaches. Learning how to weight lift made me realize not only how strong I already am, but how strong I can become. Don’t get me wrong, by no means have I become a weight lifting junkie. I am a Pilates teacher and a dancer who has found weight lifting to be the perfect complement to my current training routines. I can feel the muscles of my core and upper back supporting the joints more, which actually enhances my dance and pilates practice. Being a ‘petite’ women my whole life it’s inspiring to think that I can achieve the strength goals I have had but until now have not been able to reach. Chin ups and hand-stand press ups here I come!

See you in the gym – Alice x


Life is like a box of chocolates…I should know, I ate most of them!

Did you know, research shows that members who participate in gym only activities are 56% more likely to struggle to maintain activity adherence compared to those who include group exercise classes as part of their routine? These statistics come from The Retention People (TRP) and I for one have had my mind changed in the perception of group exercise and how it can really provide that extra bit of ‘umph’ during your journey through fitness.

I absolutely pride myself on being an advocate and ambassador of maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle with every gym or fitness facility that I have worked for, as this passion stems from quite a unique start in life!

My journey through fitness began aged 15 when my Mum encouraged me to start doing something for myself. I had always been a keen swimmer and rugby player, but food had gotten the better of me which led to a 38-inch waist aged 12-13 (definitely not a healthy weight to maintain at such a young age). I was cushioned with the standard ‘you’re just big boned’ and ‘you just need to grow into yourself’ by my grandparents (who were the feeders in this relationship) and for a period of time I believed them, the majority of my family were overweight so I only really knew it that way.

How wrong they were!

I must admit, as I got taller my weight ‘spread out’ should we say, but this by no way meant that I was fit, healthy and able to maintain a lifestyle that I wish for my children to have in the future. I am not saying that we all need to eat a perfect diet and be alcohol free having trained for 2 hours a day, because unless that is your lifestyle and you are absolutely devoted to it then it isn’t sustainable. I enjoy my lifestyle with a healthy blend of indulgence at the weekend and actively participating in exercise for the enjoyment that it brings and the enjoyment that it instils in other people.

Aged 15 I took my first steps into a gym and the rest is history, but not my perception of group exercise.

My experience in teaching group exercise only started in 2014 when I took up a post as the Assistant Health & Fitness Manager at The University of Nottingham and considering I had been in the industry since 2010 (including my time studying at Loughborough) I deemed myself a ‘late bloomer’ in the field of group teaching. It had never been something that I thought I would be good at, I had always enjoyed training by myself, headphones on and escaping to what I thought was the most efficient and enjoyable way of training.

Two years on and how things have changed.

My daily routine now includes teaching a couple of classes, chatting to the members within them and enjoying educating people on fitness. For those of you who have attended any of my freestyle spin classes, you certainly know that I have a dreadful taste in music. However hopefully you agree my weekly integration of girl band remixes, Michael Jackson or whatever themed week we decide would be enjoyable certainly has people smiling (or at least that’s what you tell me!).

I feel very fortunate to manage a group exercise timetable with some of the best instructors in the UK, all of which are a pleasure to work with and learn from. We as a club have an incredible member base who are more than willing to learn, listen and try new things within the club. My aim is to have 50% of our members actively participating in group exercise and from my experience at the ‘Les Mills’ LIVE Event at the Excel Arena last month, there is no reason for this not to be achievable.

I was hugely inspired by the sheer volume of people on their fitness journey at the event, men and women, those just starting and those who had been on their journey for years. The likes of the ‘Les Mills’ event provides a platform for instructors to come together to go on that journey with health club members and to see that in action was a real pleasure. I only hope that I can continue to learn and instil the same passion and energy that was present in those huge rooms throughout all of my classes in the future.

To sum up, I had never been a fan of group exercise, participating or teaching but things change and people change and my view has been completely reversed. Young males are the least likely to try group exercise classes and as one of those myself, I urge each and everyone of you to go online, book a class and give it go.

My advice, try it. What have you got to lose? As you can see from the pictures above I lost inches, lots of them!

We’ll be holding a Group Exercise Launch night over the next couple of weeks, showcasing all of the classes that we have to offer for you to ‘dip in’ and ‘dip out’ of and I hope to see you there!

Best wishes always – Zak

Time flies when you’re having fun, and hits warp speed when you launch a gym!

URBANFITNESS LondonDear URBANFITNESS London Sugar House member

I hope this communication finds you well…

While the old adage ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’ is certainly true – Three weeks since having opened our doors I am keen to start lobbying for an amendment to be made as follows; ‘Time flies when you’re having fun, and hits warp speed when you launch a gym!’ As with all things that matter to us, when you see the development and birth of something you are passionate about and responsible for, there is a certain element of uncertainty and worry as to how people will receive your ‘baby/product/passion’. One of the great joys of being involved in the first club of a small group as opposed to a fitness industry corporate is the opportunity to truly help influence the direction of a brand and product. When your product is your passion, how it’s received becomes so much more personal. What will that first school report look like? Will people like it as much as we do?

Three weeks post launch, the nerves are starting to subside and confidence starts to grow as to what has gone well and what we will do differently next time. So what have we learned so far? Lots! Have we got everything correct? Certainly not! What are we most conscious of? We owe our success to the commitment, support and positivity our every single one of you – our member base! Without your commitment to us and at times understanding with regard to the usual teething problems you’d expect and we certainly experienced, we simply would not be where we are today. It is a sad fitness industry fact that when opening a new site, a large proportion of new members leave upon opening because they simply did not like what they saw and more importantly experienced. As we approach the end of month one I am delighted to note that we have seen the smallest of leaver numbers and predominantly this handful of people owing to them simply leaving London. We are hopeful that this is a sign that what we are trying to create is resonating with you all and as ever any and all constructive feedback about how you’d like to see us develop together is gladly welcomed and actively encouraged!

All being said though, as ever so much of what we see in life is transferable and thus I wanted to look at our 5 key learnings (to date) from a gym launch and how they can be applied to your (URBAN) fitness life!

1 – Proper preparation and planning prevents p……..

A gym launch, like any other new business launch, is a hugely complex project – with build works, recruitment, kit installs and so on all to be managed. The key here is that a well thought out schedule is in place and followed to allow for adequate completion. Does this mean things will always go to plan? NO! However a good plan means that things where possible will happen consistently and as needed. The same is true of training. It is common place for people to want to make changes in lifestyle and often people start off making well intentioned but dramatic changes in a wholesale fashion. Sadly, as is often the way with dramatic changes, they are harder to keep to and become non sustainable. The key to success actually lies in the consistent application of initially small and manageable changes, which in turn can develop as ones comfort levels with them does. Indeed the key word here is CONSISTENT. At UFL we have developed our GAINS programmes which serve to cater to any and all such training in needs in a consistent and sustainable way. Does this mean that if you miss a session here or there you won’t achieve what you want? Of course not. What we are saying its that it’s better to train a manageable amount over a number of months, and not beat yourself up if sometimes work or your personal life gets in the way, as long as generally you are following the right programme.

2 – Positive people make positive outcomes

Whilst working through a complex build and launch process, as you would expect, you are often met by a number of unexpected curve balls.  In overcoming such obstacles, the solution often lives as much in the approach of those trying to solve it as it does the solution itself. Similarly of the people surrounding you are solutions focussed and upbeat, on the days where you aren’t 100% you can feed from there energy and vice versa. Indeed a positive mind set simply opens itself to better outcomes. This is true whether looking at how to overcome damp proofing issues in a build or achieving your training goals. If when you turn up to train, you have a clear idea of what you want to do and you have decided to approach things with excitement and energy, you will get the most from your workout. Although what happens when I have had a rough day and I am tired I here you utter? The answer again sits in the surrounding yourself with positive people. As I hope you have already experienced we have a uniquely experienced and passionate team in club that are solely purposed with helping you get the most from your time with us. Feeling low and need motivation, come see us! Similarly, train with friends (the positive type). You will achieve so much more training with somebody than alone.

3 – Quality beats quantity

When working toward a completion date there is all ways an urge to see jobs completed as quickly as possible. This can lead to the desire to throw as many bodies at a task as possible to get the work done. However such an approach can mean jobs are rushed, and not completed to the standard they would be if done at a slower pace by the most skilled of professionals. The same mantra is absolutely true of training and can be seen in the way we have selected our equipment from weights machines through to the lighting system. Indeed when looking at equipment we wanted to ensure that our members reaped the maximum possible benefit from every bit of effort. Our weights machines for example are unique to the market in that they have specifically designed cams that ensure the optimum and varied levels of force are applied throughout the full range of an exercise to ensure optimal muscle stimulation. Indeed even our lighting system is designed to modulate the wavelengths of light emitted throughout the day so as to ensure optimum alertness without making you feel wide awake when you go home to bed (as can happen from staring at screens all day). Similarly in your training our GAINS programmes are tailored to ensure the most efficient activity to maximise results for your hard work.

4 – Be open minded

Having seen our product and site evolve it is fair to say the journey thus far has been one very much of evolution. What was initially seen as the best or correct way to do something has often been challenged and changed. As the saying goes there is more than one way to skin a cat. The same is true of exercise, with so many different forms of training there really are a multitude of ways to stimulate the body into responding. The key is to establish what you find most enjoyable and effective. The team are on hand to help with everything from helping improve and perfect exercise as well as finding what exercises are best suited to helping you achieve your goals. Similarly, if a piece of kit is in use, ask us what else to do for the same benefit – there really are some great options out there!

We are all different and a one size fits all approach simply does not work. Look out for our technique seminars coming soon!

5 – Set goals

When UFL was conceived, the aim was to create a truly unique fitness experience, offering the best equipment and coaches in the industry, at a reasonable price. We hope, that while we know we have opportunity to develop, we have laid good foundations! Indeed without knowing what we wanted to achieve, we would have never achieved it. On our journey to date, it was vital to break down our longer term goals into shorter term, more manageable tasks. This is absolutely true of training success. Decide what it is you want to achieve, and then break that down into manageable chunks. If you know what you want to achieve, but do not know how to get there, fear not, that is where we come in. For help simply see a member of the fitness team and we will help get you set with a GAINS programme that is both goal specific, individually tailored, sustainable and more importantly fun.

In closing, I am keen to thank each and every one of your for being so supportive, open minded and positive in your response to our launch. We have been delighted with the atmosphere in club and that is in no small part down to you, our valued members. We look forward to growing as a brand and as a group with you.

Yours in Training

Jon and all of the team.

URBANFITNESS launch party – It was great to see you!

On Friday 5th February we opened our doors for the first time and said hi to all of the new members at our new Sugar House club in Aldgate.

It was a fantastic turnout and great to see so many members visiting the gym, talking to the team, trying the equipment and already planning their new workout routines starting on Monday 8th.

Check out the photos, you may see yourself! Thanks again for everyone that was able to attend and make the evening such a great occasion. It really was a fantastic kick start for URBANFITNESS London.

Best wishes from Jon and the entire team and we look forward to seeing you in the club very soon.


What’s your passion? As it’s the secret to success…

So, as we head into 2016, I have been tasked by our UFL coaching team to pen the inaugural monthly web blog. Having considered at length what may be most useful for people to read, I’ve settled upon, speaking from the heart about what motivates me to keep active, in the hope that this might help you consider how best to reach your goals this year and beyond!

Every ‘business guru’ presentation I’ve witnessed will at some point talk about setting objectives/ goals as they help your focus, but what does that actually mean in reality? Well most people have grand plans formulated in the aftermath of Boxing Day and then by early January they are firmly put on the back burner as the day-to-day grind takes over. Therefore with that in mind the description below has worked for me…

Jonathan Williams

From my early teenage years I’ve been passionate about all sports, and this continued into my education, hobbies and general adult life. For 20 years football was pretty much my focus played at a decent level and therefore competitive games twice a week and the related training both in and out of the gym kept me active and ultimately fit. Intermingle that with training as a Phys Ed teacher and taking various coaches badges in different sports, I never really had to think about my fitness levels or maintaining a healthy weight as it all just happened naturally. Why? Well of course I had a passion and that was sport and mostly football, so ‘hey presto’ being active occurred without me even thinking about it. Then I approached my late 30’s, had to pack the game in due to medical reasons, and suddenly I was 15 kilos heavier still enjoying the weekend nights out without any of the activity and, despite all of my knowledge in the area of exercise science, I was overweight and out of shape.

So about 18 months ago, my brother who has always been involved in competitive cycling, suggested I should stop bemoaning the loss of football and get back on the bike, which we used to enjoy as teenagers. Sufficed to say like most things in life that kick up the backside was the marginal gain I needed at the time and since then I can comfortably state that my new passion in life is cycling having completed almost 13,000 miles since August 2014. From the position of a complete novice I achieved the qualifying time for the UK National time trial championships back in August 2015 and managed to gain a top 10 placing in my first road race. This has firmly replaced the hole in my activity patterns that giving up football created and also has provided much food for thought regarding the evidence behind adherence to exercise. This, in turn has helped shape how we look at the member experience in all URBANFITNESS London clubs.

An important point to note here is that at the beginning of 2015 I set 10 objectives for the year ahead, all achievable but a few far more challenging than others. Five being work related and the remaining five personal/ physical activity based. I then pinned these up on my notice board in order to see them every time I sat behind my desk. The results over the past year have been amongst the most satisfying of my life, I have now achieved 9 out of the 10 with the 10th now purely time related to achieve in January 2016. So what I can now categorically state is that a list of 10 objectives ‘works’ as a good number and focusing on them every day helps you steer the ‘good ship self’ throughout the year ahead. Oh and its important to remember that much used acronym of S.M.A.R.T. when setting your goals as they need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time related.

With this in mind it’s pretty clear that we need to help our members either harness the activity they’re passionate about, or help them find it, in whatever form that may take. Whether it’s simply gym work, group exercise, training for sport or a specific event, if you already are passionate, or develop a passion for that activity then you are well on the way to achieving a healthy lifestyle!

You will see from our club website page over the coming few weeks that we will be posting a monthly event calendar where the variety should give all of our members specific training target(s) should they be needed, outside of anything you are looking to achieve under your own steam.

I can whole-heartedly recommend setting yourself some objectives, both personal and professional and see how 2016 develops keeping your eye on the prize that is simply the immense satisfaction in achieving them. Happy New Year and have an amazing 2016 from all of us at URBANFITNESS London – Sugar House.

Yours in happiness & health

Jonathan (W)
Owner – UFL