REPs answers fitness dilemmas with ambassador Louise Hazel #AskLouise

Louise Hazel

Last night (7th May 2014), as many of you have have seen advertised on our Facebook and Twitter pages, was the first of our live twitter chats with our ambassador Louise Hazel.

First of all we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who tweeted in their fitness related questions to #AskLouise! And secondly an extra special thanks goes out to Louise who speedily answered a great range of questions, which were certainly coming in thick and fast we might add!

For those of you who were unaware or missed out on the action we asked our fellow tweeps to tweet in their fitness dilemmas and queries using the hashtag #AskLouise. Questions from last night’s Twitter takeover ranged from ‘what’s the best exercise to do if want to tone my back and sides?’ to ‘How much water should I be drinking a day if I am trying to lose weight as it can be confusing Il, 2l 3l?’

It was great to see so many involved asking for expert advice from a REPs member and we will certainly be running similar events in the future, so make sure you follow us @REPsUK on Twitter.

If there are any areas you’d like us to discuss on Twitter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us (ideally a tweet, of course)

Here’s a sneaky peek of what happened in our twitter takeover in case you missed out…


REPs delighted to support UK’s top fitness instructors at CYQ national final

CYQ FTC 2014 winners with presenters RichardBurley Carole Stott and Justin Smith (2)CYQ Competition winners with  presenters Richard Burley, Carole Stott and Justin Smith

The winners of the CYQ/BCS Fitness Trainer Competition have been announced after an exciting national final at the prestigious home of the FA, St George’s Park on 1 May 2014.

REPs would like to give a huge congratulations to this year’s winners and we were delighted to be involved in this year’s competition by offering the winners free membership on to the Register.

There were 15 finalists in total who competed in three categories, Level 2 Fitness Instructor – Gym, Level 2 Fitness Instructor – Exercise to Music and Level 3 Personal Trainer, to lift the coveted 2014 trophies.

Kathryn Ingles from Warwickshire College was named winner of the Level 2 Fitness Instructor – Gym competition, Deborah Terry from Truro and Penwith College took the Level 2 Fitness Instructor – Exercise to Music prize and Callum Green from South Downs College was awarded first place in the Level 3 Personal Trainer category.

The winners were presented with their trophies by a line-up representing the organisations behind the competition including Lori Randall of CYQ, Head of Business Development; Carole Stott, Chair of World Skills; Justin Smith of Technogym, and Richard Burley, the outgoing Vice-Principal of Burton and South Derbyshire college.  The winners were understandably delighted with their success.

REPs Head of Membership Greg Small said:

‘This competition is such fantastic opportunity for these young, aspiring trainers to apply their knowledge and skills in a controlled environment. The experience will enhance their CV and further prepare them for a career in the fitness industry.

We are delighted to have been able to support this CYQ event, and feel the trainers will greatly benefit from this partnership.  Contests of this nature can only help to improve standards in the industry and be of benefit to participants.’

Greg continued to say:

‘I would like to congratulate Callum, Kathryn and Deborah on winning this competition. To see the competitors show the same values as REPs through their commitment to career development and professionalism is particularly pleasing, and it is a pleasure to be able to offer the winners complimentary membership to REPs.’

Callum Green, winner of the Level 3 Personal Trainer category, enthused, ‘Before enrolling on my personal trainer course at South Downs College, I did not have much of an idea as to where my career was heading. The knowledge and tools my tutor – James Clack – and all of my lecturers have provided me with have been instrumental in my success. I can’t thank them and CYQ enough for this amazing opportunity.’

Kathryn Ingles, winner of the Level 2 Fitness Instructor – Gym competition explains, ‘I am thrilled to have won. It was an honour to be involved in such an event and, although nerve wracking, the day exceeded all expectations.’

And Deborah Terry the Level 2 Fitness Instructor – Exercise to Music category winner neatly sums up the quality on display throughout the competition: ‘Being part of this professional CYQ competition has been inspirational. By meeting fantastic trainers and awesome competitors it has shown me what a skilled and diverse sector I am part of.’

To find out more information about the competition please visit

What the All Party Report means for Exercise Professionals

shutterstock_95075494The first stage of the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity report: ‘Tackling Physical Inactivity’, makes recommendation to address the harmful levels of inactivity in the UK.  The population’s sedentary lifestyles pose a serious threat to health, wellbeing and life expectancy posing a huge burden to public services. As exercise professionals we have a large part to play in raising activity levels for children and adults.

The study has found that only 51% of children reach the recommended levels of sixty minutes of daily exercise, which falls off dramatically by the time they reach adulthood. Only 22.5% of adults perform half an hour of exercise a week, as compared with the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more. This highlights the need to encourage activity at every stage of life, particularly in young children to establish an active lifestyle habit that they can take with them to adulthood.

As REPs members, we are a critical part of addressing this problem at every stage of life by ensuring that all instruction is of the highest quality.  Sport experiences must be to motivate and inspire children to maintain the recommended levels of activity into adulthood. In delivering physical activity for children therefore, we have the responsibility to ensure that we arm children with the necessary physical literacy from a young age, helping to encourage participation in sport at a later stage of life. If properly instructed from a young age, we can have a pivotal role in giving them the foundations and skills for an active life.

In terms of instructing adults, we need to ensure that we are regularly updating our qualifications and experience to address the afflictions of much of the population; rising obesity and physical illiteracy require that we need to keep updating our skill set to cope with this unique set of challenges that many more clients present to us. Many obese adults with low levels of physical literacy have received medical referrals and have to be taught very basic skills.

As the report highlights, for the first time in history, the current generation of young people is expected to die five years younger than their parents. It has never been more important to engage today’s young people in physical activity and keep them engaged into adulthood.

To read the report in full please click here.

Is BMI just a big fat lie? The obesity measure under the microscope

Great to see our Head of Memberships Greg Small in the Metro this week giving his opinion on BMI. When it comes to BMI it would seem a good case of common sense should be applied to the guidance of professionals.

REPs UK welcomes new USREPS


us reps

REPs is pleased to welcome the all-new U.S. Registry of Exercise Professionals (USREPS), which launched last month. The Register has been designed for those who seek to hire, work with, or are referred to a qualified, certified exercise professional. The public can easily search, find, and verify all of his or her credentials in real time.

The introduction of the USREPS registry is the first move by the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP, pronounced C Rep). CREP is comprised of exercise certification organisations in the USA that have programmes which are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the recognised standard in the US for the assessment of professional competence.

The CREP organisation will maintain USREPS and advocate on behalf of exercise professionals that hold current, NCCA-accredited certifications and the stakeholders of the profession. Current member organisations of CREP include:

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • AmericanCollege of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • Cooper Institute (CI)
  • National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)
  • National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
  • Pilates Method Alliance (PMA)

“This launch is a big step towards the inevitable inclusion of highly qualified exercise professionals into the healthcare continuum,” said Graham Melstrand, CREP Board of Directors President.

“Recognition of exercise professionals as health providers is a logical progression due to their unique expertise in the areas of disease prevention and wellness promotion. Until now, truly capable professionals have been inhibited by concerns regarding the qualifications of individuals representing themselves as exercise professionals, and the lack of an easily accessible mechanism to identify and verify professionals with current NCCA-accredited certification programs. That barrier is gone, which we expect will help exercise professionals gain the respect and recognition they deserve.”

Similar to us here at REPs UK, USREPs mission across the pond is to secure recognition of registered exercise professionals as health providers, in order to make structured physical activity accessible and safe for all.

What’s even better is that CREP is now a full member and part of the ICREPS family, which allows for more job opportunities available to REPs members, offering international recognition in America.

To find out more about USREPS please visit

Top 5 Marathon Preparation Tips from Louise Hazel

It’s only four weeks until the London Marathon, and I’m that sure many of you will have your preparations well underway and will be clocking up the mileage as we speak. By now you may have months and months of preparation under your belt, for what will be another monumental event in 2014, so it is important to maximise this final phase of preparation. Whether you’re a marathon virgin or a seasoned professional looking to add an extra edge to your performance;  here are my top 5 marathon preparation tips to make sure that you make it to the start line in top shape!


1.      Shoes

You should be wearing footwear that is both lightweight and supportive. The best brands for specialist running shoes are Asics, Mizuno and New Balance. Make sure you get a few weeks of training (or at least 10 miles) in your shoes before race day to “wear them in.” When it comes to socks go for breathable and specialist running socks such as @compresssportUk. Our main aim with footwear is comfort and avoiding blisters.

2.     Race

Around four weeks prior to the marathon you should be aiming to race. Enter yourself for a half marathon, not only will this provide you with a strong mental boost but it will be great for your training too. Aim to run the half marathon slightly quicker than marathon pace.

3.     Speed

You should plan your longest run (up to 26 miles) around four weeks prior to the marathon. Aim to run the first 20 miles easily and with just 6 miles to go try to up your pace. This will teach you how to dig deep when you are feeling fatigued.

4.     Hydrate

Never refuel with water, you should be consuming a sports drink during your training that combines carbohydrates for fuel and electrolytes to replace lost salt through sweating. If you are on a budget, you can make this at home using simple orange squash and a pinch of salt.


5.     Taper

Avoid last minute marathon panic of trying to cram in extra mileage prior to race day this will only hinder your performance. The aim is to taper your training in the last few weeks by reducing your mileage so that you feel fresh on the day.

Keep your eyes peeled for my tips on race day preparation and check out my pinterest board for some delicious gluten-free meal ideas to spice up your training plan and boost your immune system.

REPs Welsh Convention a huge success

Over 80 delegates enjoyed the latest REPs convention

Over 80 delegates enjoyed the latest REPs convention

Taking place at the Sport Wales National Centre yesterday (12th February), the REPs Welsh Convention was a great success, enjoyed by both REPs members and the wider exercise community.

REPs conventions, now running for a number of years, offer a unique opportunity for members to earn CPD points across a range of activities and workshops in what is a day-long event.

On this occasion, sponsored by Nordic Walking UK, Timely and LeisureForce, over 80 delegates enjoyed workshops from SkillsActive endorsed training providers including KBT Education and PTA Global.

John Byers, REPs representative for Wales, managed the event and was delighted with how the convention went.

“Yesterday was certainly one of our most successful conventions to date. We were fortunate to have some leading industry experts leading workshops which were of real value to delegates.

“Having so many professionals at the convention looking to learn, develop their skills and network with likeminded people is real mark of success for REPs, and we look forward to continuing these conventions for our members , and the fitness community, across the country in the future.”

REPs Compliance and Standards Manager, Rob Wilkie, who opened the event with a welcome speech, was equally thrilled with the day.

“Members looking to upskill and commit to CPD is always pleasing. To have over 80 exercise professionals with us in Wales for the event made it a real success, and on a personal level it was enjoyable to be able to meet and speak to so many members; being able to address and any concerns and share plans and thoughts for the future.”

The next REPs Convention will take place in the south-east this summer. Keep checking the REPs website for updates.

Louise Hazel announces plans to come out of retirement for Glasgow 2014

ImageREPs ambassador and international heptathlete Louise Hazel has confirmed that she has come out of retirement in a bid to defend her Commonwealth title later this year.


We are delighted by the news that Louise, who won gold in Delhi 2010 , has come out of retirement. Speaking to BBC Sport yesterday she said the lure of competing in Glasgow was too strong to resist.


“I’m in better shape than I thought I was in. I’m really excited and I can’t wait to get started,” said Louise.


Louise announced her retirement from heptathlon last September, but added she was “not ruling out other sports”.


But after a series of tests on Wednesday, involving sprint work, the long jump, shot put and sessions in the gym, she confirmed her return.


“I was really pleasantly surprised by my tests. It’s a thumbs-up for Glasgow, if I’m selected,” said Hazel, who will now put together a “plan that involves coaching and sponsorship”.


She added: “I also have to chat to Commonwealth Games England to discuss the selection process and to see what hurdles have to be overcome.


“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could successfully defend my Commonwealth crown – I’m definitely targeting the podium.”


After making her major championship debut for Great Britain at the 2006 European Championships, Hazel finished 14th at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.


Her personal best of 6,166 points, set in Germany in 2011, makes her the seventh best British heptathlete of all time, but she could only finish 27th at London 2012, where Ennis-Hill took goldand another fellow Briton, Katarina Johnson Thompson, was 15th.


Whilst there is still a long way to go before Glasgow 2014, which begins on the 23rd July, the REPs family is 100% behind Louise and we wish her the very best of luck.

No time to get fit?


Do you ever feel like you could do with an extra hour in the day just to fit everything in? Finding time for ordinary tasks such as washing your hair can feel like a luxury for which you have to set aside time. People are living increasingly busy lives, any free time is considered sacred. With time so precious, putting a large chunk of it aside for exercise is an indulgence many feel they cannot afford.

The average Brit spends 43 hours in full-time work each week, without taking into account all the other duties required of them. Many industries are rethinking the way they provide their services due to the increased demands on time. An open-all-hours culture is already rife in the beauty industry, a trend set in cities that don’t sleep such as New York. On demand services are also popular, where people can get express treatments without having to book a long way in advance, every moment of spare time needs to be taken advantage of.

To exercise professionals, the benefits of making time for workouts is obvious, not least for the extra energy it can give for the day ahead. It is easy for exercise to be lingering at the bottom of the list of priorities in a hectic schedule; fitting in gym classes or personal training sessions is just not a realistic possibility for some. Short of becoming nocturnal, it is hard to fit it all in. Kim Kardashian might be a fan of 3am workouts, but realistically this is not feasible for making long-term changes. Incorporating exercise into the lives of busy people may seem like a daunting prospect, but it is imperative that exercise is an important focus. Showing how this can be achieved through changes to the daily routine, without sacrificing too much precious time. Being busy should not be an excuse for not staying fit!

Make it part of the commute

Commuting is a fact of life for most people, an ordeal to be endured every day. An office-based job encourages a sedentary lifestyle, so having an active commute can help counteract that. Brainwaves such as Home Run, a series of guided runs home from Central London, help achieve that. Following popular commuter routes such as Waterloo to Clapham Junction, covering distances between 2 and 6 miles, Home Run takes the tedium out of one of life’s necessities. They even carry your bag!

If running is not for you, or your commute still requires more traditional means, there are still plenty of ways to make it more active. Fitting in as much walking as possible is a step in the right direction; walking to the station, taking the steps rather than the escalator and getting off a stop early will get the daily miles clocking up. Apps such as Moves calculate all movement throughout the day, a great way to quantify how much you are actually doing, and a great incentive to keep on improving that figure.

Be organised

Being aware of any moments in the day that could be used for activity will allow for these times to be used most productively. Finding the perfect time to go for a run, but lacking the kit to do so is useless, forward planning will make the most of these opportunities. Keeping a gym kit in the car or office will allow for spontaneous activity, or make a priority of following through with a pre-planned activity without wasting time going home first.

Get Creative

No time to go to the gym, but still got twenty minutes to fit in some activity? Making the most of what is available to hand can provide a makeshift gym. Stairs can be run up, chairs used for triceps dips, press ups and sit ups can just require a flat surface. Gym equipment for the home is readily available, and comes in a variety of price ranges and sizes to suit every need. There are also a great selection of fitness DVDs and interactive games that are perfect for instructor-led exercise, but without the time constraints of committing to gym classes.


Multi-tasking is an absolutely necessary skill to keep up with the frenetic pace of life, and is second nature to this overworked generation. This can extend into exercise, menial tasks such as cooking or cleaning can be turned into workouts with movement to increase the heart rate. Throw in some squats, a plank or some star jumps will make waiting around far more productive. A sacred night in front of the TV needn’t be sacrificed either, but introducing an exercise bike into the mix will ensure a good workout at the same time. Watching sport while doing this is one of the best incentives to carry on going; getting engrossed in the action will make it easy to forget you are even exercising.

Making these small changes a habit is a much more sustainable way of ensuring people are routinely active. The way people are living their lives and spending their time is changing, and this applies to the ways in which they exercise. Understanding that some traditional methods may not be as relevant it important, exercise professionals should be at the forefront of realising this and helping to ensure fitness remains a top priority.

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Keeping customers engaged over the Christmas period


Guest blog from our Registers Operations Manager Greg Small .

Christmas is coming, the release of the new John Lewis advert to pull at our heartstrings serves to confirm the fact that the festive period has officially begun to descend upon us. As well as an onslaught of highly emotive adverts, decorating trees and shopping this entails, Christmas also means endless rounds of parties, stockpiling of chocolate, and for many, the excuse to consume to excess, forgetting what exercise is. The author of this blog may have got up for an 8am 10k cross country run last Boxing Day, but many of us are not that inclined to work off this Christmas turkey, or indeed have the time to indulge in such activities. Despite the best of intentions, many might lack the time and motivation to focus on their training schedule; the warm twinkly lights and festivities of the season prove far more appealing to the harsher glare of the gym. The gym drop out rate for the Christmas period is palpable. Many adopt the ‘I’ll start again in January’ mantra, writing off their month of inactivity and poor eating choices. Over indulging will only make it harder to get back into a routine and find the motivation to do so. As exercise professionals, it is important to show clients that the festive period needn’t be a time to put exercise on hold, but can be carefully incorporated into their plans. Planning is the key to a successful Christmas. Working together on a plan that works for your clients should ensure that exercise can still have its place in their Christmas calendar, and all the good work done throughout the year needn’t be undone in one food-coma inducing sitting. Knowing when their next session is will help keep them on track.  Looking ahead into the New Year is another way of ensuring they are of aware longer term targets and have the motivation to achieve them. Communicating with your clients through this time will make them less likely to fall off the radar. Make them aware of special offers and promotions that are going on. Offering reward incentives are great ways of ensuring clients don’t become strangers! Encourage your clients to remember why they came to you in the first place, and re-address the original goals you made with them. If weight loss was the incentive, remind them of how far they have already come. Taking another set of measurements will be a sure-fire way to make anyone think before tucking in to another helping of Christmas pudding. As an exercise professional, keeping focus and not letting things slip might seem imperative, but you must communicate this mindset to your clients. You are not with them all day to guide them, so they must learn to help themselves. Ensuring that they have the right mentality to want to eat healthily and exercise properly will mean that half the battle is already won. Calling upon personal experience when giving advice on nutrition and ways of coping with extra temptation should help to enable them to negotiate this period successfully themselves. The festive period is a special time, providing a break from everyday life and the chance to enjoy ourselves. As professionals, we should understand normal exercise routines are bound to be compromised as other events take priority, but there are positives that can be taken from this too. The body needs the chance to rest and recover from exercise, reducing the intensity of fitness schedules provides the opportunity to do so. Clients can return with renewed focus and motivation after a break. REPs need to communicate to their clients the importance of balance and moderation; missing one exercise session won’t make us unfit but falling out of the routine of regular exercise will. The festive period doesn’t last forever, but successfully negotiating it will allow for plenty of enjoyment whilst keeping on track with fitness goals.

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