REPs launches new website

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As some of you may have already noticed, we have updated the REPs website. The new site offers a more refreshed, modernised look and feel as well as making the time spent on the site more enjoyable.

We caught up with SkillsActive Head of Digital, Doug Burtenshaw, who gave us a little insight on the site update.

In a newly structured team, Doug leads on all things digital at REPs, and you will be sure to see the impact of his role over the coming months.

Why has the REPs website been updated?

Primarily, user Journeys needed to be improved. We needed to make sure that when people visited the site, they could get what they need as quickly as possible.

The new site is a lot more compact, and there is a clearer focus on finding the information quickly.

What can REPs members expect from the new site?

There are now more direct ways of finding the information you want, which is fundamental.

We have also updated the design, meaning the website is now responsive to tablets and mobile devices. The upward trend we are seeing in people accessing the site from these devices is huge, so this was at the core of the re-design.

Following from this trend, we have also ensured the new site has an increased social media presence, making it much easier to interact with REPs across our social media channels.

There has to be substance with this new-found style, too. Through the new website, REPs members will find it much easier to source CPD points and new training.

What about those who aren’t REPs members, what difference will they notice?

The new site will make it much easier for members of the public to find a qualified exercise professional. This is a great service, and means REPs members can showcase their qualifications, and assures the public that their trainer is appropriately qualified.

What more can we expect to see from the digital side of REPs?

There will be a lot more to come from us. With a structured team in place, we are confident we can make some real strides and bring a lot more to the table for a REPs member. Our cards are close to our chest for now, but watch this space as there is definitely more to come.

Visit the new REPs website here:

REPs outlines stance on parks and exercise


In light of recent press coverage surrounding trainers using public parks, REPs outlines its stance on the issue.

When enforced responsibly and professionally, we are supportive of local parks and public spaces charging a fee for exercise professionals to use these spaces.

At REPs, our primary concern is to protect the public from rogue trainers. The maintenance of public parks will make for a better space, thus offering the public a better training environment. We appreciate the need to pay a fee in this circumstance, and are ensuring that parks and local councils make their plans clear and go about this in a professional manner.

To hear from members of aggressive behaviour being used as a deterrent is concerning, and REPs stresses the need for parks to carry out their duties in a responsible manner.

REPs encourages members to contact us if they feel these regulations are not being carried out as they should.

While we encourage our members to take advantage of these spaces, we do appreciate that, as with any business venture, there is a cost involved.

REPs is pleased that the issue of the significant difference between a 1:1 session and group exercise has been considered and as a result, pricing has been adjusted accordingly.

While many exercise professionals have acknowledged the need to charge for a group exercise session, a cause for concern has been those delivering 1:1 sessions, where the profit to be made is much lower. REPs is pleased that parks have also acknowledged this, and have created a price structure that is in tune with this.

We encourage members who use parks to pay these fees, just as we encourage parks and local councils to act professionally and appropriately in managing this.

We advise members to check the regulations of parks before use, and not consider this a deterrent, but to acknowledge that these fees will help protect and maintain these spaces, making them sustainable for ongoing use as a high quality exercise space.

REPs Compliance and Standards Manager Rob Wilkie will be available from 10:45 – 12:00 on Friday 28th February to discuss the issue with you across our Facebook and Twitter channels.

REPs in the News

Wow 2013 certainly was a busy year for REPs, gaining some great coverage across both national and local press as well as featuring in various magazines. So we thought we would share a few of our highlights with you.

Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen national media approach REPs more often for comment across a range of exercise and health issues.


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(Circulation of 1.9million per issue)



We also worked with Women’s Health on a fantastic article which discussed how important it is to have an appropriately qualified trainer.  (Monthly circulation of 107,965)

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REPs Operations Manager, Greg Small also featured in the Mail Online commenting on Miley Cyrus. While we can all agree the topic is perhaps not the most newsworthy, it’s great to be acknowledged as an ‘expert’ when health and fitness is being discussed in mainstream press. Click here to read the article in full. (Daily circulation of over 10million unique browsers)

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As well as our print and online press coverage, we were delighted to feature on BBC Radio 5 Live Radio (audience of 6.12 million listeners) and BBC Breakfast (daily reach of 6.8 million), giving our expert advice on key fitness issues.


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We hope 2014 continues to be a prosperous year for the Register!

Worried about picking up a bug? Maybe stay away from the gym…

As we write these blogs, the process often starts with some research, be it online, on the phone or even directly with you, our members.

Something we perhaps didn’t see coming was the current discontent around hygiene in gyms, something that is coming more to the forefront at a time of year known for being that bit busier with newer gym goers.

Despite being known for the place to go to remain fit and healthy, we were drawn to wonder whether there is actually more chance of picking up a bug or illness in the gym.

In a survey in a popular fitness magazine, it was seen that germs appear in all corners of gyms, right from benches to changing rooms, and of course, in swimming pools.

The lack of hygiene in some areas has concerned trainers, who, spending much of their working week in these environments, have to keep a close check on their health.

While a gym filled with sweat and kit will unlikely ever be ‘germ free’, we have recommended some tips that may help keep risk of illness to a minimum.

Encourage your gym to install hand sanitisers. You’ll find people are encouraged to use these, and they will help prevent the spread of germs.

Does the person before you wipe down the equipment after use? Encourage your gym to encourage its members to bring towels, or at least provide tissues and spray to clean equipment after use.

Flip flops
Shower at the gym? Make sure you cover your feet. Changing rooms are a hotspot for verrucas and athlete’s foot.

Staying hydrated
We all re-use water bottles, so there’s no shame in that. Just make sure you change it every couple of weeks.

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Join us in Cardiff at the next REPs Convention

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CPD points are on offer at our next convention, taking place on Wednesday 12th February at the Spot Wales National Centre in Cardiff.

A major event for exercise professionals, a range of workshops will take place throughout the day, offering an excellent professional development opportunity.

Our key note speaker Matthew Wallden (Faculty Member, at CHEK Europe), will be delivering ‘Flatten your abs forever’, which will be an eye opener for all attending. The workshop will use the unique holistic and multidisciplinary approach that the CHEK (Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology) Institute is renowned for.

Matthew will explain all the reasons why your exercise programme may not be getting the results it should. You will also learn about the common problems preventing people from achieving flat abs including ineffective exercise programming, poor nutritional habits, hormonal imbalance, gynaecological, gastro-intestinal disorders and much more.

We are certain that you will leave this presentation with some new ideas to take back to your classes, PT sessions and exercise programmes!

There will be a choice of 12 interactive and informative workshops to keep you up to speed with all the latest industry news and developments.

Along with Matthew’s session and 11 other interactive informative workshops, the REPs Convention is also a chance to speak directly with some key people at REPs, including Compliance and Standards Manager Rob Wilkie. Delivering the ‘Welcome’, Rob will be available throughout the day to address any concerns or questions you may have.

The day-long event is £45 for REPs members (£60 for non-members) and this includes refreshments and a buffet lunch. Please note any bookings made after the 4th February are subject to an additional £5 ‘late booking’ charge.


REPs proud to be training staff to work with those with disabilities

Anne Taylor

We are delighted to be partnering with the European Commission on a new two year project, European Fitness Inclusion Training for Work, which will equip fitness professionals with the sufficient knowledge, competence and skill to work with people with disabilities in fitness environments.

The initiative is led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Inclusive Physical Education, Sport, Fitness & Recreation, and is also being delivered in partnership with the European Observatory of Sports Employment, Universidad Poltenica De Madrid, Palacky Univerity, MonentumBD Ltd and International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).

The project uses an innovative approach by embedding inclusive fitness professional training within the fitness club environment in a sector skills alliance involving trainers, trainees, employers and people with disabilities.

Justification for the project stems from the reality that people with disabilities are three times less likely to be physically active and twice as likely to be obese than the able bodied population. They are under-represented in mainstream fitness environments. Many fitness centre managers and instructors do not feel confident working with people who have disabilities. This unease is exacerbated by a lack of awareness among employers, those with disabilities and their families regarding the benefits to be gained from their participation. A number of factors contribute to this including: the vocational preparation of professionals, operating policies and attitudes of staff, employers and society as a whole. Few Vocational Education and Training (VET) programmes equip fitness professionals with sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to work with people with disabilities. The project will be piloted initially in Ireland, the UK, Spain, France and the Czech Republic with instructors in their work environments.

This is huge project of which REPs is proud to be a part. Importantly, this project is predicted to have an impact upon 30,000 clubs, and over 1 million staff and associated VET providers.

If you have any questions about the project or would like more information please contact our Compliance and Standards Manager Dottie Calderwood, who will be leading this project.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please don’t hesitate to comment in the space below.

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REPs welcomes Government’s commitment to dementia research


As exercise professionals we most certainly welcome the Government announcing the funding research into dementia doubling.

The Government has already committed to spend £52 million in 2012 to 2013, and up to £66 million by 2015; the ambition is now to double public, commercial and charitable R&D in dementia in the UK by 2025, supporting leading scientists, universities and other institutions in seeking the next breakthrough.

Greg Small, Operations Manager for REPs, says, “While it’s obviously upsetting there are so many dementia and related conditions needing this funding, the investment is a welcome boost that can positively affect the lives of those people suffering from these conditions. Dementia issues already cost the NHS £5 billion each year – yet data shows that physical activity can drastically reduce the risk of major illnesses.”

A study [i] published this week in the journal PLOS One found that people who consistently followed four or five key behaviours experienced a 60% decline in dementia and cognitive decline, with exercise being the strongest mitigating factor. The other four behaviours were low bodyweight, a healthy diet, low alcohol intake, and not smoking.

Greg, who is also a REPs registered instructor, continued to say: “The increased funding should enable health clubs and leisure facilities to ensure people can get bespoke, professional training – enabling those people who need it the most to access appropriate fitness training from qualified professionals. REPs fitness professionals are fully qualified to provide the best possible encouragement and motivation, and ensuring correct exercise habits.”

According to the National Health Services, mental illness accounts for a third of all illnesses and, at any given time, one person in six experiences anxiety or depression. It is estimated that 25% of the UK population will experience at least one mental health condition at some point in their life.

Greg concludes, “Our aim as exercise professionals is to help everyone in the UK to get more active, and fitter. Through the combination of this additional funding, medical intervention and physical activities, we can all work together towards relieving families and society of the awful impact of dementia and its related conditions. If spent well, this investment will ensure patients and clients will receive the best possible treatment from those professionals qualified to do so.”

[i] Published in the PLOS One journal by researchers from Cardiff University, the study is the longest of its kind to probe the influence of environmental factors in chronic disease.

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Louise Hazel’s Christmas tips

Photographed by John Wright

REPs Ambassador Louise Hazel shares her expert advice as we approach the season of eggnog, work Christmas parties and endless repeats of Home Alone on ITV2 (not that we are opposed to any of this, particularly Home Alone – except the third one).

It can be tempting to over-indulge during the Christmas period, with endless Christmas parties and treats everywhere it can be hard to resist the temptations that are associated with the festive season. Research has shown that weight gained over the Christmas period is rarely lost throughout the year meaning a steady increase of weight gain year upon year. So how can we enjoy ourselves without piling on those extra pounds?

With two weeks to go, I wanted to give you my top tips to not only keeping trim over the festive season but getting a head-start going in to the New Year.

1.       Set yourself a goal (e.g. Drop a dress size by Christmas, Lose 2kg before Christmas)

Goal setting helps you to focus as it provides a reason to exercise.

a)      When you don’t feel like exercising repeat your goal three times in your head and you’ll be more likely to head out of the door.

b)      When it comes to weight loss you should aim to lose weight gradually, 0.5kg every week is steady progress. The quicker you lose weight the easier it is to pile back on. 

2.       Ditch the treadmill

Long, steady exercise is good for general fitness, but you won’t achieve results quickly.

a)      For a quicker result you should opt for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), classes are available at most good gyms.

b)      If you want to lift, tone and sculpt those problem areas you should opt for resistance training such as free-weights or power-band training.

c)       If you seriously lacking in motivation, opt for a personal trainer. A fully qualified and professional personal trainer will hold valid qualifications and insurance. Always check they are REPs qualified before you start by visiting the REPs website. 

3.       Stay hydrated

Poor hydration can lead to feelings of fatigue so if you are suffering from the night before it’s important that you rehydrate to assist kidney and liver function.

a)      Try to consume 2 litres of water daily.

b)      To beat a hangover drink 500ml of water and take 1000mg of vitamin C before bed. 

4.       Dessert or alcohol

Sugar is the biggest contributor to weight gain, therefore it is important to moderate your intake if you are trying to lose weight.

a)      Choose between dessert or alcohol, never both

b)      Opt for non-sugary cocktails, try going to a vodka and soda water with a slice of lemon for a low-calorie tipple. 

5.       Don’t miss breakfast

Skipping breakfast will inevitably lead to a drop in blood sugar levels during the day, which will often lead to cravings for sugary and fatty foods. Avoid the temptation by making breakfast a priority.

a)      Opt for a high protein low carbohydrate start to the day such as scrambled egg with smoked salmon on a slice of wholegrain/rye toast

b)      Alternatively, check out recipe ideas at for an awesome Bircher muesli recipe.

c)       If you are in a hurry, opt for an apple, Greek/soy yoghurt with a handful of mixed nuts and dried fruit. 

Good luck and remember a diet is a lifestyle; it’s not just for Christmas! If you have any Christmas diet or fitness tips I’d love to hear from you @louisehazel on Twitter!

REPs at the Scottish Convention

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Nearly 100 attendees enjoyed a variety of sessions at The REPs Scottish Convention held at The Lagoon Leisure Centre, Paisley. The event included a brilliant keynote presentation from Keith Smith (Global Master Trainer, Life Fitness) on ‘The biggest market for the fitness industry in the next 20 years – The Independent Older Adult’. Keith was exceptionally insightful and spoke with great passion about the next “big opportunity” in fitness.

REPs Compliance and Standards Manager, Rob Wilkie, who was present on the day, gave the following feedback: 

“The day was a resounding success with fantastic information delivered to a crowd of extremely dedicated members. The variety of workshops on offer is testament to the varied numbers of roles we see as members of the Register.” 

Here’s what REPs member Kathyn McCubbin had to say:

“I really enjoy coming along to the conventions. There were so many good workshops today I couldn’t decide! It is also a great chance to meet other fitness professionals and network”

Kicking off with the day we had a number of workshops covering a spectrum of activities relevant to our members, here are highlights from a few of those workshops.

Lincoln Bryden spoke at length on ‘Metabolic Physique Conditioning: Bridging the Hormonal Gap between Muscle Growth and Fat Loss’. Highlighting that metabolic conditioning is wonderful at burning fat, but it continually falls short in the muscle building category. He explained the variances and outlined what we as a team can do to help restore the balance.

KBTEducation highlighted the benefits of advanced Olympic lifting and functional training. Lifting weights can be the ideal training for many of your clients, some of which may never have considered it.

Premier Training International led a session focused on several often ignored health and lifestyle factors that must be fully understood and applied in order to witness truly successful, long term weight management. This scientific approach to beating the bulge was a great session.

Classical Pilates UK also delivered a brilliant session outlined how current science is only now catching up with one of the longest lasting functional training methods.

Later Life Training ran a workshop that looked at the importance of evidence and good practice guidance, as recognised by bodies important in the writing of National Level Strategic Documents, including the Department of Health and Royal College of Physicians.

Drummond Education gave us all a crash course in social media in the run up to one of the busiest times of year for an instructor. This timely session gave us all insight into the ways in which we can be smart with our engagements and increase the number of clients we have, alongside keeping better connected to our existing clients.

This is short round up of what we would all agree was a fantastic day. The number of people who took time out of their busy schedules to earn CPD points and also contribute to valuable discussions was fantastic. We would like to say a large thank you to the team at the Lagoon Leisure Centre for hosting our day!

Why fit is fashionable for women


A slim and slender frame is often viewed as the most coveted body shape for females. This ideal is reinforced by the media, fashion industry and popular culture on a daily basis. Magazines, adverts and model campaigns all show evidence of this aesthetic being lauded, and anything that deviates from it being considered less appealing. The coveting of this form appears to dictate that only skinny is desirable, showing little acknowledgment of any other form being remotely appealing.

Thankfully, there appears to be a new influx of women who are shunning this perceived ideal in favour of a healthier, more toned physique. Acknowledging their influence, many in the public eye are using their bodies to promote a healthier ideal. The July addition of Sport magazine used a stunning piece of photography on their front cover. Jessica Ennis-Hill, national treasure and London 2012 poster girl, hands on hips with her trademark abs of steel on full display.

The public reaction to this pictorial suggests healthy bodies are beginning to get the recognition they deserve. Sport magazine received many tweets praising their use of such a powerful image of whom they describe as ‘Wonder Woman’

‘In total awe of Jess Ennis’ abs on the front cover of @sportsmaguk today. More female body role models like this in the media please #positive’ @LeishaHawkEye

‘Stunning image of the iconic @J_Ennis on the front of @sportmaguk. Sometimes they really get it right.’ @rolyhamroll

‘Woah, HOW awesome does @J_Ennis look in today’s @sportmaguk? Now that is a powerful and healthy body. What a woman!’ @Sarah_robbo

The girl who can do no wrong epitomises that fit, healthy and active is beautiful. She certainly recognises the influence she holds, recollecting how she avoided the local chippy in the lead up to 2012 with her honed physic looking down on her from a poster outside.

Ennis is not the only popular figure who realises the effect her notoriety can have. Jennifer Lawrence, star of the Hunger Games, spoke of her desire to promote a healthy body image through the medium of the film.

Speaking to Newsnight’s Zoe Conway, Lawrence said:

“We have the ability to control this image that young girls are going to be seeing (in the Hunger Games). They see enough of this body that they will never be able to obtain and it’s an amazing opportunity to rid ourselves of that in this industry”.

The growing support of healthy bodies could not come at a more important time; obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the USA in the past 30 years according to the Centres for Disease control and prevention. The figures from the UK are following the same worrying pattern.

A trend towards a strong muscular physic is a positive one. The job of exercise professionals is to encourage women that this is a healthy body to strive for, and to facilitate the ability to make it both attainable and maintainable. It is important to communicate the importance of moderation; neither extreme is desirable. Avoiding exercise for fear of an ‘unwomanly form’ is as unnecessary as lifting weights until biceps resemble Madonna’s or Jodie Marsh during her crazy phase. Promoting a lifestyle that incorporates activity as often as possible is the best way of demonstrating that fit is healthier and happier.  Rivalling Mrs Ennis-Hill or her fellow heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson – who sports an equally defined physique- in the next Olympics may not be realistic ambition, but leading an active lifestyle is. Have red cheeks; run like no one is watching. Sweating is good for you. Take pride in your cyclists calves; obliques aren’t just for men. Exercise professionals have a duty to be acclaiming activity as a lifestyle choice, and the multitude of benefits that it brings. Other than achieving a strong physique, the implications for health, well-being and stress relief are also significant.

The acknowledgment of this new aesthetic represents an important time, both for women in general and the fitness industry. Use this shift in thinking to educate people in the benefits of exercise, and it will become the norm. This could be the start of a movement where more attention is given to females winning grand slams with killer thighs than writhe around naked on wrecking balls in music videos, and rightly so.

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