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Emma's marathon training- week 3

Week Three.

Marathon Training Blog.


After two weeks of following the training plan I felt that it had now become a routine and enjoyed completing each day as it came along. I looked forward to each run as well as my gym and stretching time. This week along I will be completing 21 miles through the week.

Monday  As I have stated in the previous blogs I usually teach 3 classes as well as a shift at work and struggle to fit in a run. Day one out of the 7 each week is usually a longer run than most of the other days. This week I completed some cardio vascular exercise along with a set of exercises targeting the back. In my circuit class this week we worked on lower body, mainly legs containing strengthening exercises and also some core work. I also taught a Zumba class, again cardio vascular work. Monday night I slept the best I have in a long time.

The back exercises I worked on included the following mainly using the human sport equipment and dumbbells.

Lat Pull Down on the Lat Pulley

Low Row on the Total Delts

Single arm High Row on the Pull Lift

Single Arm Dumbbell Row using bench and dumbbells.

Barbell Row on the Max Rack.

In the circuit class that lasted 45 minutes I put together a set of 8 different exercises targeting the legs that are each time for some 1 minute long and some 30/45 seconds. These included exercises using the Pump FX bars and some body weight exercises which consisted of weighted squats, weighted lunges right and left, jumping lunges, single leg bends again weighted, squat jumps and calf raises. Repeated this circuit twice, it was a challenge but the exercises are really good for strengthening different parts of the leg.

Tuesday I decided that it was beneficial to have a rest day. I listened to my body and did just this.  Tuesday was supposed to be a gym day however I had completed gym work the previous day and knew I would do for the rest of the week.

Wednesday I had a day off work so I knew I would be able to complete the longer distance run from Monday. I ran 7 miles at a normal speed today followed by 20 minutes on the bike after. At the gym I then worked on some core exercises along with some upper body chest exercises. Again light weight, more reps! I made sure that after the gym session I had a good stretch out. The Groin injury that I thought had gone decided to come back 4 miles into my run today. I made sure that I fully stretched this are afterwards. But still felt sore.

I am finding it much easier to stick to the training plan this week. I am doing more strengthening work in the gym than is written to do so and I know that if I complete the amount of miles needed to be covered each week, I will be ok.

I know that on the plan I should include swimming. In the first week I did so and feel I have let that slip a little. I am going to try and include more of this type of exercise as we all know training for a marathon isn’t all about how many runs you can do in a week you must include other types of exercise.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is that when I am running I use an app synced with my phone called Map My Run powered by Under Armour. This app is really helpful and very similar to the Nike Running App. It stores the route that you have taken, indicates the time that it has taken you to complete the run along with giving you how many minutes per mile. This is really helpful for saving all the different runs you do to compare times, speeds and routes each week. It is also a good indication of showing us any improvement each week and I would highly recommend it. The app can also be used to store data such as outdoor cycling, walks and treadmill running.

I would really like to be able to attend one of the Pilates classes ran by Eve at the club. I know that this will not be the type of class I am used to attending but I know that it will be good for my training regime and flexibility within the muscles. However my shifts usually fall around these times. I am sure I will be able to attend one soon.

Thursday I started work early and finished at 3. Once my shift came to an end I completed a 3 mile fast paced run today again followed by some time on the spinning bike afterwards and also worked on some strengthening exercises for the upper body arms and shoulder exercises along with some abdominal exercises.

Friday I attended an hours spinning class followed by a leg strengthening session in the gym. I also worked on some core exercises. Later that day I completed a 3 mile run as stated in the training plan.

Saturday was supposed to be a complete rest day however I had missed a run from having a rest day on the Tuesday. I ran a fast 5 mile paced run in the morning before work.

Sunday I wasn’t able to complete any runs. This was due to attending a course in Manchester which will enable me to become a Zumba Kids Instructor.  The course ran from 10am till 6pm. Zumba Kids will be coming soon to the Low Wood so keep a look out when it will be beginning.  I completed a gym session once I had arrived home.










Emma's Marathon training- Week 2

Marathon Training Blog.

Second Entry.


After the first week of training I was really looking forward to beginning week two.

I had really enjoyed getting back into running and could see an improvement in my pace and my technique.


I have such a busy day on a Monday and unfortunately didn’t manage to fit in my 3 mile run I was set out to do. I came to the gym a little earlier and completed some cardio work and then a set of different exercises that target the back muscles making sure the weight that I am lifting weren’t too heavy so I was able to complete 3 to 4 sets of 15-20 reps.  These exercises included Lat Pull down, Low Row, Single Arm Row along with a row exercise on the D.A.P followed by a couple of exercises that target the biceps and triceps. I then had a short break before teaching a 45 minute circuit class. The circuit class that I teach includes a variety of different exercises that are each completed for a minute. Exercises include abdominal work, cardio vascular work along with exercises using light dumbbells and some using the Pump FX bars situated in the studio.  I do take part in this class along aside the members that attend. After circuits I taught a Zumba class and then started work. I know that I didn’t manage to complete a 3 mile run but knew that I could make up for it another day that week. Monday has enough exercise to contend with.


Tuesday was a Gym day and during this one hour session I completed a leg session ensuring to strengthen the muscles in my legs ready for the marathon. Again making sure that the weight used was light and completing 15-20 reps each time. The exercises included leg extension, seated squats, calf raises, weighted squats and single leg kicks on the Low Woods new human sport equipment (which is an exercise I would highly recommend to any of our members wanting to strengthen there quadriceps.)


On Wednesday I ran a 5 mile route around my hometown area and was impressed with my time of 48 minutes. My minute per mile had also decreased and was under 10 minutes each mile that I ran. I was thrilled. Later on I headed to our sister hotel Lancaster House and the Sandpiper gym were I ran a short distance of 2 miles followed by a gym session mainly focusing on the core with a concentrated stretch session to get the muscles to function for my next run. I then relaxed my legs in the hot tub and Jacuzzi and also treated myself to a steam room and sauna. Felt great! All this running and exercise and it felt nice to relax. I also know that it is very important to rest the body in order to rest the muscles. I can hold my hands up, I know that I am not one for rest; I am always on the go. One thing that I am going to have to learn whilst training for the marathon that rest is very beneficial.


Thursday came along and I ran another 5 miles. This time a different route then walked up to the gym and worked on shoulder session.  I ran these 5 miles 5 minutes quicker than yesterday. Today’s 5 mile run was supposed to be ran at a fast pace so I was happy with completing it 5 minutes faster than the previous day.


Fridays run was a fast paced 2 mile run. After my shift at 3pm I completed this and ran to the Waterhead hotel and back. Again my pace per mile decreased and ran this in 17 minutes. I was happy. I then headed up to the gym and cycled on the bike for 20 minutes followed by a short chest workout again using light weight and more reps.



Complete rest day on Saturday. Needed it!


On Sunday I teach a circuit class at 10 am. Before this however I completed a fast 3 mile run, headed to the gym for an hour and then taught the class mainly concentrating on upper body and abdominals. I then had an 8 and a half hour shift at work and spent the evening relaxing. Well needed!!

Getting the balance, exercise and cancer Part 3 by Jo Wood

Can I start by saying a massive “Thank you” for everyone’s support along my cancer journey. Your kind words and encouragement have meant so much. It’s not been an easy journey and I’m sure it’s a long way from over yet.

Everything that is feminine about me I loved was taken away. My hair, eye lashes, eye brows, nails and boob were taken. However, exercise seemed to fill a void and saw me through some of the tougher times. I cannot stress enough, how being fit has helped me deal with some of the more terrifying and black moments along the way.

The last 12 weeks since my last blog have been very hectic but rewarding. I had my mastectomy/reconstruction on 16th December last year. I couldn’t be happier with the results and I am back to running, happy days! My amazing breast surgeons at Wythenshawe did advise me against running for 12 weeks post mastectomy, the operation was extremely complicated and took 8 hours. I did take the advice on board during my training and after taking things steady I got tentatively back into my running after about 7 weeks. I have continued to improve every week. My motivation has always been good, but I am sure some of it this time round was the arrival of the new Star Trac kit at the Low Wood Club. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time; the variety in the gym is immense. Motivation all round.

The next phase of my journey begins this week with radiotherapy. This is going to be a bit of a juggling act as its everyday for the next 3 weeks (weekends off). I am ready for it though having had 12 weeks off from treatment allowed me to get my fitness levels back up. It’s been so good to exercise without pain, tiredness, nauseous and generally ill. I still have numb feet and fingers but these are improving every week.

Let the juggling begin!


Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting fundraisers I am organising over the summer months, with the Big Pink grand finale on Saturday 7th November. All proceeds going to the Christies and the Genesis centre Wythenshawe.


Keep exercising.



Emma's Marathon Training - Week One

Marathon Training Blog

First Entry


Hello, everyone! My name is Emma Robinson, I am 23 and I work full time as a Fitness Instructor at the Low Wood Leisure Club, alongside teaching classes including Zumba and Circuit Training each week.


At the end of last year I decided that I wanted to run a marathon. I always liked having something to work towards and decided that this year was the year to train for one. So, very recently I signed up to take part in the Coniston Marathon that will take place on 6th June 2015. I have always enjoyed running and have taken part in events such as The Great Cumbrian Run in Carlisle of which is 13 miles and another shorter event including the Super ten weekend at Total Warrior but have yet to run a marathon. I attend the gym most days and enjoy taking part in other classes than my own when I can including spinning. Having never run a marathon before or even trained for one I had no idea where to start regarding a training programme. The last time that I ran over 10 miles I ended up damaging all the ligaments in my right knee so I was feeling a little apprehensive about the run but all the same looking forward to training. I have learnt that over the last year my knees don’t take very well to running on road which is one of the main reasons I chose to enter the Coniston Marathon which consists of fells and softer surfaces.


After signing up for the marathon I decided to do myself a little research into marathon training programmes. There were so many different ones online that I struggled to write my own. Recommended by my manager Andy Sharples I approached Jo Wood the clubs personal trainer and asked for her advice. Jo was really helpful and created me a training programme for the 3 months to follow coming up to the marathon. So I now had something to follow and also something I would be able to fit around my working hours and classes. The programme consists of stretching, swimming, gym workouts (targeting specific muscle groups) and last but not least running. Each run is set at a different mileage and speed. Some runs I must run at a fast pace and some a normal pace. Before a run of 3 miles or less I must have a good warm up on the cross trainer before hand. On runs 5 miles or over I have been advised to spend 15-30 mins on the bike afterwards targeting the same muscle group as I have just used.


The week starting 3rd March is the first week of my training plan and so far so good.

As well as teaching my Zumba and Circuit classes I have started to include more swimming into my training programme as well as fitting in a few runs this week. The total miles for this week are 18. Here is an outlook on the week that I have had showing the training I have achieved.


Monday: Taught a Circuit and Zumba class and also worked on shoulders alongside some cardio in the gym.


Tuesday: Complete rest day.


Wednesday: Ran 13 miles from Kendal to the Low Wood in 2 hours 9 mins. Pretty good for a first long distance attempt run I think.

Thursday: Swim, Stretch, and worked on upper body including abdominals in the gym as legs were very sore from previous run the day before.


Friday: Hour of spinning in the morning followed by some leg work. In the evening ran 5k (3miles) in 30 minutes 12 seconds. I did aim to be less than 30 mins but pace and speed not bad. Then swam 40 lengths, had a good stretch and did some abdominal work in the gym.


Saturday: Rest day from running but completed a short gym workout after my shift.


Sunday: Completed a 3 mile run through Ambleside and taught a circuit class during my shift.  After my shift I went for swim and stretch.


If I am honest I struggled to stick to the training plan this first week. I still did a lot of running and exercise but changed things around a little.  Next week I am going to try and stick to the plan a lot better and not change the days around to ensure a more strict approach to the training. On the Wednesday I ran 13 miles when the plan stated to run 3miles on that day. Probably over did it on that day as my body wasn’t used to such a long distance so soon and did end up pulling my groin and damaging my knee. I just threw myself into it and to be honest was quite impressed with my time and pace However sticking to the plan that Jo has given me will ensure a efficient training regime and will also help not to peak to soon.


Ready for week 2!!!!



Top 10 Health Tips for 2015

So January is here and the whole nation is wanting to get a little bit fitter and healthier in 2015. Below we have put together a few top tips to help you get results and not join the majority of people who give up by February!

1. A balanced diet

Have a good variety on your plate every time you eat.

"Ideally, what we want to aim for, as a visual, when you look at your plate, you want to make sure half that plate is vegetables, a quarter is protein and a quarter is your starch."

2. Thirsty? Drink water

I think it's really important we get some good old fashioned water back into our systems. Ideally, 2 to 2.5 litres of water a day.

The No. 1 trigger for daytime fatigue is lack of water. Dehydration can cause headaches, muscle cramps, things like that as well."  

3.  Avoid "free" products

A lot of times we think that those products are a lot healthier. If something is taken out of a product, something else is added back in. Sometimes with fat-free products there's excessive amounts of sodium added back in.

Sugar-free products are pretty trendy right now because everyone wants to avoid sugar. Typically, I try to avoid sugar-free products and 'no sugar' products as well, things like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin.

4. Eat well, eat Often

When we go outside the three-hour window of not eating, the body actually switches gears and goes into starvation mode. When we're in starvation mode, it can make us feel tired, lethargic, cranky, irritable, a bit of brain fog sets in. It can actually increase the appetite and actually increase sugar cravings and increase the appetite so it makes us overeat as well. 

5. Check your source

If you're going to make a lifestyle change, discuss your needs with a qualified instructor.

A lot of times we're following trends and fads that we read in magazines or see on TV.

6. Slow and steady wins the race 

Start at a comfortable level and slowly work your way up over time. Remember not to run before you can walk, you need to build the foundations before you can achieve anything.

7. Maximize effort — use big muscles

Too many people waste time when they're at the gym

Try exercises that use large muscle groups, this will allow you to fit more exercises into a workout.

When you are in there, don't stick to small muscle groups. You see people in there training their biceps and their arms and they spend a full hour doing that.

I would suggest why not train a full body type program where you're using big muscles like your legs and then you go and you do big muscles like your chest and your back and you do a variety, when your legs are tired you can then exercise another muscle while they're actively recovering.

Larger muscles require more energy and so working them increases your metabolism to a greater degree.

8. Variety

If you do the same exercises at the gym every time, your body will get overused. 

Make sure you do a variety, that you use the machines one day, you try free weights another day, you use body weight another day. It keeps you more engaged and it's more entertaining because you're not doing the same thing, it's not as boring.

9. Fuel your body

Eating before a workout is critical.

If you don't fuel up, your body will actually use muscle mass as energy to get you through a workout.

When you lose muscle mass you lower your metabolism, that actually is counter active and you might actually gain weight.

Eating after a workout is equally as important. Protein repairs muscles so make sure that your breakfast or your next meal has a protein source.

10. Get advice

To avoid injury, talking to an expert about a fitness program before you start.


All Low Wood Club members are entitled to free inductions, fitness assessments and personalised gym programmes from our fully qualified fitness team.

So if your wanting to get fit and healthy in 2015 contact club reception now!

Getting the balance, exercise and cancer Part 2 by Jo Wood

So thats it, 6 weeks of chemo completed with no deferred treatments. It's been hard, really tough some times but it's given me plenty of time to "think" about exercise and illness.

Being fit before an illness like cancer does have many benefits. For me, being able to continue to exercise when I could, all be it to a lesser fitness level than before, has helped me immensely. Keeping me sane and helping me cope. My fitness has also helped while negotiating phase 2- the boob op, with my surgeons. I feel that my fitness has played a major role in a lot of the decisions that my surgeons and I have made. For example which type of op is going to be more suitable for my lifestyle. According to the breast team at Wythenshawe they don't often see bodies like mine and so they are willing to listen to me and accomodate all my needs for long term health and fitness, bonus!

The one little downside to being fit, for me, whilst going through all these treatments is the frustration. Mentally I want to do everything I did before, but I can't. This makes me just a little grumpy. As I mentioned in my last blog I am so used to pushing my body during exercise, I worked on the High Intensity Training principle. But at the moment my body is been tested and pushed by chemo and it's side effects. I was hoping to have 4-5 weeks of good solid, illness free, exercise before my operation, but unfortunately I am still suffering with a few side effects and lingering cough from the chemo. That puts pay to any chances of improving my fitness, before my operation, I am a big believer that the fitter you are the quicker you recover.

Thoughout these last 5 months of chemo it's been tough not to view chemo as the enemy due to how terrible you feel. To go through all this and keep a sensible exercise balance has been challenging for me.

Phase 2 is next and thats going to be just as difficult as I am not allowed to run for 12 weeks! The longest time I've ever had off running was 5 weeks after my two C sections, how will I cope?

So I've just got 3 weeks before my operation and just to let you know I compiled this blog in my head whilst running on the treadmill, happy days!

This weeks class amendments

Due to instructor holidays below are this weeks class amendments:-

Wednesday 29th October

Circuit Blast replaces Pump FX 6-7pm

Thursday 30th October

Cardio Bootcamp 9-9.55am cancelled

Cardio Bootcamp replaces Line Dancing 10-11am

Friday 31st October

Twenty 20 Twenty replaces Hi/Lo Combo 10-11am

Abs & Arms 11-11.45am cancelled

Sunday 2nd November

Circuit blast 10-10.45am cancelled

All other classes as normal

Getting the balance, exercise and cancer by Jo Wood

Being a Liberian, who are said to be able to get the right balance, you’d think I would know all about balancing things out. Generally I do, weighing things up comes naturally to me. However I do seem to have struggled lately, since being diagnosed with breast cancer.

I have been exercising at various levels (County & national) since I was 10 years old. The longest amount of time I’ve ever had off exercise is after having my two boys by C section that at the most was 5 weeks. For most of my exercise life I trained twice per day. Even now I still adopt a lot of the hardcore training and put myself through hours of intense type exercise. I just didn’t feel right unless I finish my exercise sessions, 5-6 days per week, feeling pleasantly exhausted. Knowing that I would not be able to repeat an exercise session was the aim, for example, I often did 12 x 400 metre flat out, if I was sick I was told to get up and finish.

In the last 2 months things have changed massively. This is because I have breast cancer and currently I am having chemo, it means I now have to be sensible; Jo has to listen to her body. No more living on the edge of fitness and illness. As someone who trains intensely, pushing your body that hard you are always at risk of developing some sort of infection, as a fit individual you are a good host for many illnesses. They like nothing more than a fit healthy body to hang around in.

This last 2 months has been a huge learning curve for me, I’ve had to embrace so many new ways. At first I stopped exercise- what if exercise made the cancer spread or speed up? These were the thoughts that I initially had in the “shock” couple of weeks of finding out. Now though, I am back! I have to take it steady, no more feeling nauseas from pushing myself too hard during exercise (I get enough of that post chemo). I have now learnt that immediately following chemo there is absolutely no chance of doing anything much in the first 3 days, I then take it easy for the next 4 days. Coming into work and shouting/pushing other people to exercise is the most I do. I get an awful lot of pleasure out of that, making people realise their fitness potential is great. The following 2 weeks before my next 3 week cycle of chemo I get back on with my own exercise. I am still running and doing what I love, only at a more moderate level. You will still see me pounding the streets, but not as hard, fast or for as long. I now need to be exercising for health reasons, not for pure physical fitness. It’s been hard but the last thing I want to do is push my body too hard and pick up an illness. Got to think of these white blood cells.

Lots of people have asked why I didn’t just stop exercise all together, take some time off. Exercise is what makes me tick, it keeps me mentally together. This is so important when you’re going through cancer treatment. Also by keeping my fitness levels up it’s helping me to recover stronger and hopefully quicker.

At The Christie, in Manchester where I am being treated they have signs up saying “Living with cancer”, it’s true. You have to get on, carry on as normally as you can. My personal normal is continuing to exercise; someone else’s might be cycling, walking etc. It’s whatever gets you through.

So to me exercise is a way of life, it keeps me sane. It’s my coping strategy. If I stopped exercise now I wouldn’t feel normal. I need to feel normal now, in many areas of my life at the moment normal is often difficult to feel.

Injury Prevention for Golfers! - By Graham Parsons

As you may or may not be aware the final major of the golfing year is under way this weekend (7th-10th August) with all the talk being about how will Tiger Woods cope with the recurrences of his back injury he had at the start of year that forced him to withdraw from the final round of the WGC championship last week.

I thought I’d spend some time talking about how important injury prevention is in the world of golf.    


Common Types of Injuries in Golf

Depending on weather you are an elite golfer making millions of pounds a year and playing in the biggest tournaments in the world, or just a recreational player who goes for a game every Sunday with your mates; Injuries are always going to be a part of the game. Typically injury sites no matter what type of golfer you are, are lower back, shoulders, hips and wrists, normally injuries in these areas come down to overuse or technique faults due to physical limitations.


Why do these Injuries occur?

A recent survey showed that approximately 44% of all injuries in golf come down to overuse, the main causes of overuse injuries include: Excessive play and practice, lack of flexibility, poor physical conditioning and many more.

Preventing Injury in golf

With flexibility and conditioning being common reasons for injury it is important that you spend time in gym as well as on the course and driving range. Building strength, power, endurance and flexibility in the key areas of the body I mentioned early is vital, doing such exercises as the squat, deadlift, back extension and frontal and lateral raises will help build the muscles around the hips, lower back and shoulders allowing for more stability in these areas during the golf swing. As well as strengthening your muscles, making sure you have good flexibility and mobility is also key to keeping healthy. Keeping the hips and lower back flexible is vital to a good golf swing as if these become tight then this will affect all aspects to the golf swing, resulting in extra stress being placed on the body, thus increasing the chances of injury. Exercises that are good for hip and lower back mobility are Swiss ball Abs rolls, medicine ball rotations, lying lower body rotations and many more.

The Results:

If a full and effective exercise program is put together covering all areas mentioned and performed 2-3 times a week, then the golfer will reduce there chances of injury and also their overall game will improve by the swing will have more stability, power and control, resulting in longer drives, more fairways and greens hit and ultimately better scores and more enjoyable golf.


Interested in improving your golfing fitness?

Why not book in for a personalised gym programme with our new fitness instructor Graham, call 015394 39344 or ask at club reception.




Nev meets...................World Squash Champion Laura Massaro

Did you know the World Squash Champion is from Preston?

Well she is and that lady is called Laura Massaro.

During the build up to the Commonwealth Games Low Wood Club squash enthusiast Nev asked our gold medal hope a few questions




1. Can you take us through a typical day in the life of Laura Massaro?

Well, it varies from day to day but generally I train 10mins away from home at David Lloyd in Chorley. I do 2 sessions per day and most days that tends to be one in the gym and one on court. Court wise i'm either working technically, playing matches, doing hard pressure sessions with the ball or doing solo practice. In the gym, this varies between weights, agility and High Intensity sessions. I try to eat well and rest well when not down at the gym.


2. Currently British squash is going through a successful period, are there any up an coming young stars we need to look out for?

British wise I have been quite impressed with a group of young girls coming through at under 17 level. They have competition against each other which is healthy and I think they could go far. Talent wise there are always young Egyptians coming through who are extremely talented.


3. With the Commonwealth Games days away, what are your expectations for the tournament?

My goal is to try and play as well as I can. This is always my goal when going into an event as it helps me stay calm. I won silver in the doubles 4 years ago and I would love to get a medal in the individual as well this time round.


4. Do you have any superstitions before matches?

Generally if I find myself needing to do something because I have got into a habit of doing it I nip it in the bud there and then. I don't want to find myself in a situation where I NEED to do something strange and wonderful! It is however very difficult once into a habit of eating a certain food for breakfast and dinner to get out of it. Just because I know it's working. I guess that's a bit of a superstition especially because normally after an event I can't stand the sight of that food for a few weeks as i've over done it.


5. With the introduction to the review system in major tournaments, Is there any other rules that you would like to see changed or be looked out?

I would like to see the review system extended so players can review double bounces and 'out of court' decisions.


6. If you were in charge of British Squash, how would you encourage more participation in the sport?

I would try to get more players to spend time going into schools to encourage kinds to get into squash.


7. There has been squash tournaments played in Football stadiums, Train stations and in front of the pyramids in Egypt, if you could play a tournament anywhere in the world, were would it be and why?

My favourite event so far is played at Grand Central station in New York but if I could choose any new location to put a squash court and play an event there it would probably be in Sydney in front of the Opera House! I can't imagine a better view and backdrop to place a squash court.


8. Could you give us an insight in to your Diet & Nutrition?

I try to eat a high protien diet with carbs when I need them. I eat a lot of nuts and fuit and vegetables. Generally I try to be as healthy as I can be. My latest purchase is the nutri bullet and it's a fantastic thing to have in your home for getting some good fruit and veg into your system.


9. Off the court, what other types of training do you do to improve your squash performance?

In the summer I definitely try to do more running. On grass if possible to save my joints. In the gym I stick to non impact work such as x-trainer and bike as I have enough impact on the squash court. I may also get in the pool and swim or aqua jog for training and recovery/rehabilitation which is crucial.


10. Finally…….. If you could invite 4 guests (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Serena Williams - Love her passion and champion spirit.

Chrissie Wellington - To ask how she managed to mentally get through so many ironman championships.

Beyonce - Amazing woman and would love to spend some time with her :-)

Thomas Bach (IOC president) - To ask what squash needs to do to gain Olympic status.

Would be an interesting dinner party!


A massive thank you to Laura for giving up her precious time to answer these questions and lets hope you she brings a gold medal back to the North West, Go Laura Go!

Nev meets...........Australian squash star Cameron Pilley

This Wednesday Scotland will welcome some of the worlds best sports stars for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

To celebrate this Low Wood Club instructor Nev has interviewed Australian squash player Cameron Pilley for an insight into the life of a professional sports person.

Below are the ten questions we asked......

Q1. Can you take us through a typical day in the life of Cameron Pilley?

A typical day would include on court and off court training. Off court training may include running, rowing, weights, stretching and plyometrics. On court sessions may include matches, technique work, movement,etc. I enjoy watching squash and analysing myself and opponents to work out strengths and weaknesses.

Q2. Currently Squash in Britain is going through a successful period, with participation on the increase, is there a similar trend in Australia?

Australia will struggle to get back to it's booming years of the 80's and 90's but I hope with some improved junior programs nationwide, we can get our numbers back up. There is potential as Australia loves sport in general so we just need to market it the right way, if squash was to be included into the Olympics it would be a massive boost worldwide.

Q3. With the Commonwealth games only days away, what are your expectations for the tournament?

I would like to equal my medal haul from the last Commonwealth games or even better this time around. I am defending gold medalist with Kasey Brown in the mixed doubles and won a bronze with Ryan Cuskelly in the mens doubles. I would love to win a singles medal this time also.

Q4. Do you have any superstitions before matches?

No superstitions at all. They're silly.

Q5. With the introduction to the review system in major tournaments. Is there any other rules, that you would like to see changed or be looked at?

Nothing major comes to mind. Obviously refereeing is being looked at and rightly so. It can be improved and we (the PSA) are doing our best to help it. I'm looking forward to using the new 13 inch tin in the doubles this year. It will make the game more exciting and fun for the spectators.

Q6. With the majority of the tournaments being outside Australia, where are you based? And how do you cope with all of the travelling?

It's always been the same story for Aussies- as soon as you get serious about playing on the world tour, you need to leave home and live abroad. It is simply too far to travel on a regular basis and there are more opportunities to further your squash career. I am currently based in The Hague, Holland. Previous to that I was based in Reading, UK and for a few years in Caversham. There have been a long line of Aussie greats over the years that have based themselves in Caversham with the legenday coach Mike Johnson.

Q7. There has been squash tournaments played in football stadiums, train stations and in the front of the pyramids in Egypt, if you could play a tournament anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would love to play an event at Sydney Harbour, Australia. A glass court in front of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge would be amazing. Plus it would be great to have the home support that us Aussies rarely get.

Q8. Could you give us an insight into your Diet and Nutrition?

Burger King for lunch and dinner normally. No, not really, but in general just a well balanced diet. There is nothing special that I try and do nutrition wise but make sure I eat the right things when I should. A lot of protein following training sessions plus I am always snacking and drinking water throughout the day.

Q9. Off the court what other types of training do you do to improve your squash performance?

Off court training will include diferent types of running - intervals/sprints/stairs, rowing, circuits, skipping. Training which can get the heart rate up and replicate a squash match is ideal.

Q10. Finally.......If you could invite 4 guests to a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Ricky Gervais - funny man, Russell Crowe - he owns the rugby league team I follow, South Sydney Rabbitohs. Tiger Woods - I love golf and he'd have some great stories. Kelly Slater - best surfer ever and lives the ultimate lifestyle, still.


Thank you to Cameron for giving up his precious time to answer our questions, the Commonwealth Games Squash Tournament begins on Thursday 24th July why not follow his progress at www.twitter.com/campilley.






Nev's visit to the British Squash Open

Wow! What a week, I'd barely recovered from a 40 mile charity walk on Saturday, and there I was on my way to sunny Hull early on Tuesday morning.

The British Open is the WImbledon of the squash tour, all the greats have won it, Janangir Khan, Geoff Hunt, Jonah Barrington just to name a few. This year I was just hoping for a British winner.

I arrived in Hull early morning so I decided to head up to the university where the women were playing there 1st round matches. There is nothing wrong with the courts at the university, they are only a year old but I find it wrong and unfair how the women aren't playing in the arena until the quarter final stage, unlike there male counterparts. After watching several high quality womens matches I headed down to the Hull Sports Arena.

Last years championships were held in the KC stadium, so it was decided this year it would be indoors due to numerous weather interuptions that halted play at key moments. I was especially pleased with this as the weather was awful!

 The court itself is unbelievable, it really does have that wow factor! I took my seat and sat back to watch the best players in the world, I was asked several times by members of staff how can I sit and watch squash for hours and hours, it simple like any sport at the highest level, whether it be football, snooker or table tennis being played by top athletes its amazing to watch.

Squash can be compared to chess, it's about moving your opponent out of position, at ther top level there are very few errors, so rallies can be contested for 80, 90, 100 shots. You have the more patient players who keep rallies going waiting for an opponents mistake, you thne have the aggressive players who try to win a point with more aggressive and dangerous shots. I love it when the two different styles clash in a match.

It was brilliant to see local school children given free tickets on both days of visit, they got to both watch and meet the best players in the world. This country has a long tradition in squash and encouraging more children to the game can only be good for the future. This year is especially important with the Commonwealth games in Glasgow giving the game of squash plenty of publicity and television coverage. This will hopefully encourage more participation in the sport.

The picture at the top of the blog is myself with world number four squash player Ramy Ashour, he was a really nice guy and gave me an apple!

I hope you enjoyed my little insight in to the world of squash, if you ever fancy a game just give me a shout.



Keswick to Barrow 2014 by Nev

Saturday 10th May started in a field on the outside of Keswick at 5.30am with the rain bouncing of the ground, today was the Keswick to Barrow 40 mile walk.

The Low Wood club was one of the first groups to set off, the team of myself, Sandra, Andy, Vicky and Sandra’s son Colin headed towards the first check point.

Over 250 teams entered and we quickly split into two groups with the boys striding off with the leaders.

Grasmere the 10 mile point was reached at 8.15am where a much needed sock change was enjoyed by all, it felt like a stage of the Tour De France with support vehicles and stewards taking over the whole town.

The rain continued to fall as we dragged our rain soaked bodies over Red Bank. By this point we realised this was no walk in the park! Another hour down the road we said farewell to Andy who was forced to retire at Coniston due to a long standing back and neck injury.


The route leaving Coniston is very picturesque, especially down the East side of the lake, but seeing the same view for 2-3 hours can become very dull and draining. At this point of the day news had reached us that Sandra had to stop at Coniston which would mean Vicky would have to continue on her own, until John Sandra’s husband came and saved the day to finish the walk with Vicky!

A couple of old football injuries slowed me down, but luckily my thousand mile socks and new trainers protected my feet beautifully, not one blister! Unfortunately Colin suffered a nasty looking bite which caused swelling to his lower leg, by this point I thought Colin may retire but after consulting a paramedic he carried on like a trooper!


To be honest the rest of the challenge was a bit of a blur as we walked through Lowick, over Kirkby Moors above Ulverston and Dalton before eventually reaching Barrow in Furness.

The event was so well organised, a big shout to all the volunteers along the route especially the lady just outside Dalton who gave me a can of Coke it was a much needed boost as we entered the final straight.

The Low Wood Club teams first finisher was myself who reached Barrow in 12 hours 22 minutes, closely followed by Colin in 13 hours and Vicky in just over 14 hours. A big thank you to Sandra’s husband John who walked with Vicky from Coniston.

To be honest I think I under estimated the K2B, I thought my training would be enough but the real challenge is mentally as you go through many highs and lows during the day.


As I tucked into my well deserved takeaway on Saturday night I felt very proud of what both myself and the Low Wood Club team had achieved and look forward to beating my time next year!


Finally can we thank all the members and staff who have sponsored us, so far we have raised over £450 for local charities.







The Low Wood Club Team take on the Keswick to Barrow by Nev

Keswick to Barrow

Recently the Low Wood Club has witnessed first hand some amazing sporting achievements with Davina & Radzi’s epic challenges here at The Low Wood Bay Resort.  We thought as a team we could raise some money doing an event, after a brief meeting we decided that the Keswick to Barrow walk would be our challenge and an enthusiastic team of six signed up.


The idea of the Keswick to barrow originated in 1966 as a result of a statement made by the late US President John F Kennedy. “Every American should be capable of walking 50 miles a day” At this time in 1966 HMS Resolution was under construction at a Barrow shipyard where several Americans were involved with the project. The idea of the walk was conceived and the first walk took place on the 1st April 1967, the first walk was completed in teams to try an help build relationships between the shipyard crew an submarine crew. There are people that run the complete 40 mile route, an the best time stands 3 hours 59 mins, this was done by local man Dave Kelly in 1982. to put that in to perspective, Dave ran at 10mph for just under four hours! Unbelievable!

The Low Wood Club team includes Myself, Andy, Sandra, Vicky, Anca & Sandra’s son Colin. Our aim is to complete the challenge in around 9 hours but just completing the 40 miles will be an achievement.

The team have been traing hard for the past 6 weeks with a mixture of core and strength work in the gym and hard miles out and about in the Lake District.

The teams biggest worry is how our feet will react to the distance, we all have tubs of vaseline, plasters and tape at the ready!


The K2B since its beginning has raised a massive 2.5 Million pounds towards local charities, as a club we will have a sponsorship form on the reception desk or keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for ways to sponsor the team.

Well I better get back training, keep an eye out for updates on our progress over the next few weeks and we thank you in advance for your support.



Marathon training Part Two- Things to consider by Jo Wood


Ahead of this Sundays London Marathon we carry on our tips of things to consider when training for a marathon. It's not as easy as Mo Farah makes it look!


It's sometimes hard to fit all the necessary runs in per week. If you need to skip any runs try not to avoid the longer runs as these are the building blocks to a good marathon time. Most importantly if you become injured do not try to run through the pain. Seek expert advice as soon as possible.


Do not run at the same pace, training runs for a marathon need to be executed at different speeds.

A long steady 18-20 mile run should be just that. Most often people set out too fast and then suffer at 15-16 miles, pace yourself. During your training try to include short fast 5-6 mile runs as well. Learn to measure your own running tempo.



This is a very personal area and depends on foot biomechanics, foot strike, running speed and body weight.

Once you have found a shoe that suits buy two pairs and alternate. This will extend the shoe life and also enables the shoe to "recover" between runs. From experience there is nothing worse than needing a new pair of runners just a couple of weeks before the marathon.



This is important especially if you're going out with a specific marathon goal time in mind. For example if your aim is a 3hr30mins marathon then train at 8 minutes per mile. You will find your longer training runs are slower than this but this is where your interval running, weight training and faster shorter miles help.


Food for marathon training is very specific to the individual. Find what suits you and stick to this, keep the same foods and times when training so that on marathon day the body is used to the foods.

One personal tip is practice with gels do not introduce them on race day! These are very harsh on the digestive system and can cause stomach cramps if your not used to them. Find one you like and buy lots so you do not get to race day having to buy one you are not used to.

I hope you found these tips useful and don't forget you can find me at Low Wood Club Gym Monday to Friday if you need any personal advice.


Marathon training Part One- Things to consider by Jo Wood

On Sunday 13th April thousands of runners will take part in the 2014 London Marathon are you one of them, or are you considering taking part in the 26 mile challenge in the future?

The following blog will give you a few tips on marathon training, this may surprise a few people but it's not all about running!


Marathon training should include a strengthening programme, that includes weights, medicine ball and resistance bands. Improving your strength enables you to cope with the heavier weeks of run training and reduces the risk of injury. Picking up injuries is common place when covering mile after mile of repetitive running motion, most of which is performed on the road.



Due to core and strength training being integral to marathon training it is wise to build all this into high intensity circuits, Time is at a minimum for anything other than running but conditioning is vital and needs to be performed weekly.



Every training run should have a purpose for example a tempo run, an interval run or a long aerobic run. Don't just clock up the miles without a structure.

Well planned, quality run sessions with purpose, balanced with good rest are paramount. Keep away from lots of mediocre runs make them count.



As soon as fatigue kicks in, running style changes. This is where good running form comes in. Practice this when tired in your training- focus on keeping good posture and stride length.

Weekly mileage should build up gradually, no massive jumps in the distances you run. Core training also helps with this by keeping good upper body posture.



Many of us have to fit marathon training around our busy lifestyles. It is often difficult to get the correct amount of rest, sleep and nutrition required. It is important to get the right balance of work and rest to make the necessary physical and psychological changes to our training which then leads to improved running. Marathon running is high impact so requires plenty of rest and recovery, why not take a dip in the Low Wood Club hot tub!



Low Wood Club offers personalised gym programmes to prepare you for any challenge or sporting event.

Watch this space for part two of marathon training.

Keep On Running

Jo Wood

Thanks to James Dunn and Runners World for sources of information



Pancakes with a twist

So Tuesday 4th March is the day we all go flipping mad and celebrate Pancake Day, but are you bored of just lemon and sugar? Below we have put together some interesting alternatives.


1/2 cup quick oats, dry
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon brown rice protein powder, vanilla
Nonstick cooking spray
Fresh blueberries, optional
2 teaspoons maple syrup, optional

Combine quick oats, cottage cheese, egg whites, and protein powder in a blender. Mix well until it resembles traditional pancake batter.

Heat a large pan over low heat, and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Pour in all the batter to the center of the pan. Let it cook for approximately 3 minutes until the sides easily lift. Flip pancake and cook for an additional two minutes.

Serve with fresh fruit, maple syrup, or the topping of your choice.


3 cups almond meal
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt ( optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, light coconut milk, or milk
2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, or butter, melted


In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk and oil or butter and whisk thoroughly.

Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add more milk as necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to reach pancake-batter consistency.

Lightly oil a skillet and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Cook for three minutes, or until bubbles form and edges are cooked. Flip and cook for three minutes or until underside is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with desired toppings.



1 cup (123g) whole wheat flour (or white whole-wheat)
1/2 cup (40g) quick oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
1 cup (240ml) milk*
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar (or light brown)
1/4 cup (63g) Greek yogurt*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup add-ins like chocolate chips or fruit, optional


Toss the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Whisk in the brown sugar and yogurt until no lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla until combined.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir gently until just combined. Do not overmix the batter or your pancakes will be tough and very dense. Add any mix-ins you prefer, but again - do not overmix the batter.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Coat generously with cooking spray, oil, or butter. Once hot, drop about 1/4 cup of batter on the griddle. Cook until the edges look dry and bubbles begin to form on the center or sides, about 1 minute. Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Coat griddle/skillet again with nonstick spray for each pancake or batch of pancakes.

Keep pancakes warm in a preheated 200F degree oven until all pancakes are cooked. Serve immediately. Pancakes taste best right after they are made. Pancakes freeze well, up to 2 months.

I hope you enjoy trying these recipes and why not send us some pictures of your results or even send us some of your own pancake recipes.



Looking for a challenge in 2014?

We are now well into 2014 and it's great to see so many people in the Low Wood Club gym throughtout the day. The question is do you need something to train towards? Below is a few examples of challenges you could take part in this year.


23rd March 2014 at Kirbie Kendal School

Run 1, 3 or 6 miles







   10th May 2014

   Walk 40 miles








                    May 18th 2014

                    Run 26 miles






                    GREAT NORTH SWIM

                    13th-15th June 2014

                    Swim 0.5, 1 or 2 miles






                       21st June 2014

                       Walk 20 miles



Hopefully these challenges will give you a few ideas to test yourself and raise money for charity this year.

Don't forget to see the Low Wood Club fitness team for any advice or training plans.

Nev's Squash Blog

After last years thrilling end to the squash calendar where Britain’s own Nick Matthew became the three time world champion and world number one, we started this year in New York.

The tournament of champions is held in at New York Central, it’s a very prestigious tournament with its past winners including the greats Jansher Khan, Jahangir Khan and Jonathan Power.

The venue has a similar set up to Manchester central where the World Championships were held last year, The Tournament of Champions seems to always have an excellent following with most nights been sold out. I personally viewed most of the tournament on PSA Squash TV, which is website dedicated to live squash

It was great to see the BBC covering the semi finals and finals of the world championships last year, and also Sky showing extended highlights after the event. After the disappointment of Squash not getting in to the Olympics 2020 it was brilliant to see a so called “smaller” sport get such good coverage. It amazes me how a sport played in over 175 countries across the world and 20 million people play worldwide, not being included in the Olympics 2020,  it’s a very simple an portable sport, the court requires minimal space and can be erected anywhere. Squash tournaments have been held in many iconic locations around the world, attracting players and non-players to the sport. This makes squash an ideal sport for showcasing the host city. Anyway rant over.

Where were we …. Tournament of champions, with the world number two Ramy Ashour not playing due to injury it gave Nick Matthew a brilliant chance to build on last years success, the draw was wide open, it was very difficult to pick a pre tournament favourite.

Watching the early rounds there weren’t any early upsets, the Frenchman Gregory Gautier who so many times over the last few years has lost in finals agonisingly looked very strong he beat Tom Richards, Alistair Walker an Simon Rosner to get himself to the semi final. Nick Matthew an Mohammed El Shorbagy comfortably got themselves through to the quarter finals as well an the surprise package of the tournament was Amr Shabana, the Egyptian is 34 and has may PSA squash titles to his name but in the last few years has been struggling to find form in the bigger events. Shabana sprung a surprise and defeated Nick Matthew in the quarter finals and beat another Englishman in James Willstrop in the semi-final to get himself into the final. As Shabana is one of the older players on the tour he has adapted his game to become a more aggressive player early on in the rallies, trying to kill the ball early an try an not get involved in long rallies so opponents can grind him down. The Frenchmen Greg Gautier won the other semi final defeating Mohammed El Shorbagy. The final was expected to be a tight tense affair with Gautier being the clear favourite but Shabana blew him away 3-0, with Gautier only picking up 15 points in the entire match.

The next big event on the tour concluding this weekend is the British championships which should be a shootout between Willstrop an Matthew, Matthew has never lost to Willstrop in a tour event so he should expect to become the British Champion again, but nothings ever guaranteed in Sport.

Back in the club, it’s good too see members starting to dust down there squash rackets and get themselves back on the court. It’s nice to open the squash diary in a morning to see 6, 7, 8 courts booked that day. Over the past few weeks I’ve started giving a few members beginners lessons which I really enjoy, hopefully I can get a few more members playing and hopefully get a few tournaments going.

One of our long term members Steve Edmondson has been playing in the over 50 masters tournament in Coventry last weekend an did very well, an he’s competing in the British championships in a couple of weeks so good luck to Steve.





Just how important is CV fitness to our health? According to Cooper (2013) “Exercise is the best medicine”. Dr Cavill (2013) believes that “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost effective drugs ever invented”.


According to recent research, CV fitness is the one measure everyone should be aware of as they age. Studies suggest that CV fitness is “the single best predictor of mortality from any cause”. CV fitness can improve the quality of life; it can reduce the risk of major illnesses by up to 50% and can lower the risk of early death by 30%.

To back this up a study conducted at the University of Dallas has been collecting CV data from subjects since 1970. By using a treadmill exhaustion test on their subjects they found that just 30 minutes of good quality CV exercising 3-5 times per week reduced the chances of dying from any cause by 58% and increased life expectancy by 6 years. Due to these research findings the American Heart Association have proposed to create a “National registry of cardio-respiratory fitness data”. This will help to establish norms and help doctors to use exercise as a way of treating many diseases.


The benefits to be taken from CV exercise, however, only came through regular, consistent exercise. No random workouts, consistency is the key. A good CV workout means increasing heart rates to 70% plus heart rate max, or simply exercising to a level where you are only able to answer questions not hold a full conversation.


To make sure you’re getting the most from the time you’re spending in the gym/pool, book a consultation with a member of staff now.


Challenge: Add 10 more minutes of aerobic exercise into your current programme, do something different and tax the body.


Happy exercising