"I am Helen Holmes, firstly I am a Mum of two grown ups, a dog lover of my Cocker Spaniel Oliver, I am a cyclist, tennis player and general fitness enthusiast. I live in a little village outside Oxford and teach classes at my local Leisure Centre and David LLoyd Club. I should also mention that I am 49 years old.
I have been an International trainer, tutor and presenter for fifteen years and been in the fitness industry for twenty five, which is rather unbelievable as I think about that. The reason I started a career as a fitness instructor is passion and I hoped to be able to spread my passion for health and fitness to others, specially those who find the whole fitness thing a drag.
I am happy to say I managed to achieve this and have become known for my passionate sessions, classes and performances at conventions. To develop my skills I studied with the YMCA to become a fitness professional tutor and then began teaching others to spread their passion too. Up until recently I have delivered training internationally for the YMCA, Keiser and the military.
My fitness journey -
On a more personnel note, I have suffered from knee pain since I was twenty one, when I had my first arthroscopy. When I was thirty, after four arthroscopes, my surgeon advised me to stop all impact work, if I didn't I could be looking at a total knee replacement at thirty five. Obviously this was a real shock not only for my personnel fitness but also for my career. Luckily I had been cycling outside and I had trained as an indoor cycling instructor and had a few classes which were busy and I was growing in confidence and building my own style and reputation. The cycling not only gave me a new career but also built muscle around my knees, improved my quad and glute muscles and kept me out of surgery for seventeen years. I was proud to not teach the standard 'spinning' sessions where the emphasis is on high intensity, over exertion, fast peddling and even upper body movements in some classes! I was teaching classes which were more effective and sustainable sessions working with heart rate and all the information and experience I had gained from cycling outside and becoming a competitive cycling coach. I choose not to call my classes 'Spinning' as it does not provide the correct understanding of what the class is about. Unfortunately so many people have had bad experiences and have even had injuries from these style of classes. As part of my course we educate instructors to set up and it has been a year and a half since my total knee replacement, which I am very glad to say I kept at bay with sensible exercise and cycling. The physiotherapists goal after most knee operations is to get full rotation of a bike, which was also my main focus. With a combination of physio, Pilates and cycling I am now back to fitness and cycling as before, but with out pain.
I was back teaching the classes which I had created, classes which had progression, a good warm up, which were at a pace for all levels of fitness, ability or age could attend. As my husband and I have been providing coaching and V02 testing for athletes and general fitness enthusiasts for many years, we wanted to be able to bring this information into my classes. Our coaching and programmes were working for our clients, so they would work for indoor fitness and indoor cyclists too. So Zonefit was designed and launched at David Lloyd.
As far as equipment is concerned, I was the international Master Trainer for Keiser and delivered training for them on their Keiser M3 bikes and M5 striders for ten years. When the new M3 Keiser bikes were launched I was delighted to see that they had a computer console with important data for instructors and members to use. This also completely matched my Zonefit Program, with RPM, heart rate and WATTS information, I could target areas for individuals and make the class even more accessible and accurate.
Keiser launched the M5 striders and I was responsible for the development of education, delivery of sessions and instructor courses. I absolutely love the M5's and have one at home along side my M3 Keiser bikes. I enjoyed training on them, designing classes and offering another cardio experience for people. In general people would switch from bike to strider enjoying them both, but the demand was and still is for the bike. David Lloyd did have ten striders in a few key clubs, but cycling classes still dominated and there was a definite impact after the wonderful London Olympics, which brought hundreds of new cycling enthusiasts to clubs hunting down indoor sessions to hone in on their fitness and skills. David Lloyd have now removed the M5's from their clubs and introduced more bikes, with heart rate systems and Zonefit!
Walking Classes and the future -
Indoor walking classes are new to the UK, coming from hotter climates, such as Spain and Italy where a long walk would be considered ridiculous in the heat of the summer months. The instigator of the Keiser M5 strider coming to the UK was Paco Gonzarlez, who is Keiser's Global trainer, an old colleague of mine and still a very close friend. He understood the difficulties the UK would have but felt it was worth the introduction to our fitness market.
With the demand growing for cycling and good quality indoor cycling classes clubs find themselves investing in more bikes, bigger and better spaces with technology based studios. Rather than relying on just equipment it is felt by some forward thinking clubs to invest in technology, heart rate, power and tuning in to the trend of data and analysis. These are the clubs who are investing in the future are bringing the members not just what they need but what they should demand. Sessions which provide accurate and effective training along side fun and safe work outs. We can no longer just do what we do and expect members to accept it, we have to show them how they are improving their health, demonstrate and educate fitness enthusiasts and enable them to negotiate their way around their own fitness gadgets such as Fitbit, Garmin, Polar and Myzone wearable technology. There is no doubt this is the way forward and as a fitness enthusiast myself, I have little time to train myself, so when I do have time it has to be the most efficient and accurate time I spend. So I work out with my Myzone belt and use my APP to view and analyse my workout.
Zonefit & Movers and Shapers -
So our Zonefit sessions provide educational sessions, how to train effectively, the benefits of each heart rate zone, fuel utilisation, base building, improving cardio vascular fitness, HIIT intervals and race simulations. Taking participants through an accurate fitness journey, with information to take away to all aspects of fitness and sports. Our instructors are provided with extensive information to inform their classes, members and clients how they can make the most of every moment and we are so excited to bring our Zonefit sessions to Movers and Shapers. Our classes are already enjoyed at a variety of large and small clubs around the UK. We are very proud that the RAF, Navy and Army all enjoy Zonefit sessions and have our instructors teaching classes with in their bases in the UK and abroad. Hopefully this demonstrates how highly our training is thought of and what we provide. So fun, effective, sustainable, intervals based progression, heart rate and zone information, we cover all areas, its time to train smart!
“You've probably heard me say it a million times, but protein and healthy fats are the key to maintaining steady blood sugar, keeping your energy levels up and helping you make healthier food choices as we head into Autumn." says Nutrition & Health coach Abi
"Which makes these sesame peanut power balls the perfect snack. I suggest making a double batch as they disappear pretty quickly in my house!”
Sesame Peanut Power Balls
Makes approx 16 balls
- 200g sesame seeds
- 200g peanut butter (Note 1)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cranberries (Note 2)
- 3 tbsp raw honey
1 Great nut butter brands are Meridian and Biona. They contain only nuts, without any palm oil, added salt or sugars.
2 If they’re sweetened try for those sweetened with apple juice.
- Pop everything into a bowl and mix together well
- Roll into balls and pop into the fridge to set
It couldn't be easier!
Despite the name, you don’t necessarily have to have had a sports related injury to receive a sports massage.
The idea of sports massage therapy is that it helps flush away toxins and realign muscle fibres. The aches that we feel in muscles come from tiny micro tears. "Tears?!" I hear you exclaim… well these imperfections can be beneficial if dealt with in the right way. Muscles build by repairing this damage after they form. The body naturally doesn’t want to waste energy repairing that tear again so each time the repair should be stronger.
This can be advantageous for a number of individuals who have worked their muscles hard from an activity; say during your FastTone sessin on the Power Plates. However it can also occur in the tightness you feel in your shoulders after spending a long day at your desk. These muscles are repeatedly being used, every day, to create the same posture. They then build to become stronger within this position but if your posture is poor they could be forming in an inefficient way. It is important to break this cycle of muscle fibre strengthening and therefore tension to reduce the stiffness that can build. This is where massage comes in, if we keep those muscle fibres aligned it means that the repair of tears can happen faster and more efficiently.
Unlike holistic or beauty massage therapy which is designed more to relieve emotional stress, sports massage works on specific muscle groups to allow stretch and aid repair. It is a more active form of treatment that often involves the patient working with the therapist during a treatment whether this be by gentle resisted stretches to create a deeper muscle release or by performing gentle movements before and after treatment in order to gain further postural information to tailor treatment specific to the individual.
Does it work?
There are many factors that affect this and one individual massage is unlikely to mean the end of that repeated shoulder tension however sports massage has been proven to reduce the effect on delayed onset muscle soreness and swelling after exercise by 30%. (Journal of Athletic Training).
It can also be beneficial in preventing further problems before they manifest. Like getting the car serviced to ensure it keeps running smoothly.
However, sports massage is not the cure to all problems, it is important to ensure there are no underlying structures, such as ligaments or joints that are causing the muscles to become tight. If the problem doesn’t seem connected with a particular posture or activity then it may be worth seeing another health professional such as an Osteopath as they are qualified primary healthcare practitioners and therefore able to provide you with a diagnosis.
Members and non-members can have a Sports massage at both our St Margarets and Balham studios. For further information on Osteopathy or Sport Massage in St Margarets please do not hesitate to call Sian, our onsite qualified Sports massage therapist & Osteopath on 0203 143 5051, or email firstname.lastname@example.org . For Balham, contact Gemma Hendy, Sports Therapist with Chiropractic By hand on 07847 202365 or email@example.com
Join our FREE webinar: How to Get Healthy in the Real World, taking place September 7th at 8:30pm.
Hosted by our in-house nutritionist Abi Manders, you will learn 5 key actions to get your diet back on track - and stay on track, in amongst all the stresses and challenges life throws at you. Which let’s face it, happens every day!
To find out more or to reserve your spot, click here