International heptathlete Louise Hazel joins as an Ambassador for REPs

Photographed by John WrightWe are delighted to announce that World Class heptathlete Louise Hazel has joined the REPs family, becoming our new ambassador.

Following her 17-year athletic career, which culminated in becoming Commonwealth heptathlon champion (Delhi, 2010) and representing Team GB at London 2012, Louise Hazel retired from the heptathlon in 2012. Since then, she has focused on promoting health and fitness through personal training. She is a qualified REPs professional member.

Greg Small, Operations Manager for the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), says,

“REPs would like to take this opportunity to welcome Louise Hazel to the team. Louise is a wonderful example of how passion and determination can lead to the pinnacle of sporting success. We are very pleased to welcome her as an advocate and spokesperson for the Register of Exercise Professionals.”

Here’s what Louise had to say,

“I’m delighted to have this wonderful opportunity as REPs Ambassador to help and inspire people to integrate fitness into their daily lives.

“As a REPs member, educating people about fitness is a passion of mine, and it is essential that the public receive correct, safe fitness training and advice.”

Louise continued to say,

“It’s reassuring for consumers, employers, and healthcare professionals that all REPs registered exercise and fitness professionals are appropriately qualified and have the knowledge, competence and skills to perform specific roles. It means people know their exercise regime is in safe hands, and they can concentrate on getting fit.” 

Greg Small concludes,

“Our ultimate aim is to put the public’s safety first through the use of a REPs qualified professional. With Louise Hazel as a fellow REPs member and an ambassador, we are confident that we can continue to spread this message.” 

We look forward to the future of this new partnership and welcome Louise on board!


Ken Heathcote, ‘Father of Fitness’ on creating fitness moments of magic

Guest Blog from REPs member Karen Laing 

55 YEARS after opening his first gym, the UK’s ‘Father of Fitness’, Ken Heathcote opens up in his autobiography about the personal challenges he faced forging a business out of the fitness industry.

ImageI was fortunate enough to meet Ken on a recent trip to Bolton. My father-in-law used to attend classes with Ken, my husband’s best friend is now heading up the graphic design for Ken’s book and it was in a little back street in Bolton that he made the move from community classes to his first professional gym.

“I opened my doors on that first day from 10 ‘til 5 and no customers came,” says Ken, “then my dad walked in and put his money down on the counter. It was then I knew this was my profession and my livelihood.”

That gym would become the first multi-purpose fitness club in the UK.

Ken has published books before, The Gym Business sold in excess of ten thousand copies but this is the first time he has laid his soul bare – and he’s understandably nervous.

For fitness industry professionals, Ken laid the foundations of modern fitness qualifications and programming. He wrote, created and delivered the first National weight training course and helped for the NVQ for sport and recreation. He was co-founder and Chairman of the FIA (Fitness Industry Association) and his Lifetime Achievement Awards include: Life Fitness – Distinguished Service Award; The Oscar Heidenstam Foundation Outstanding Contribution to Physical Culture; and National Fitness Awards – Lifetime Achievement Award.

ImageThis man is a legend! We met over coffee, at the Bolton Arena, just opposite the Reebok Stadium. Fitting for our meeting since footballer Nat Lofthouse, whose statue stands proud between the two buildings, used to train in Ken’s first gym with the rest of his Bolton Wanderers team mates.

And Ken’s who’s who of contacts does not end there. He counts the ‘World’s Best Built Man of the Century’ Bill Pearl as his friend, having judged the Mr Universe Contest for 15 years, and then there’s squash champion Jonah Barrington, footballers Roger Hunt MBE and Gordon Taylor OBE, the world’s strongest man Geoff Capes, Arnold Schwarzenegger and even Darth Vader!

So how did he go from an empty gym to a thriving, decades spanning fitness business? What can today’s fitness professionals learn from this pioneer? “It’s all about creating a social structure,” says Ken, “create moments of magic. We always focused on customer service first.” As a fitness professional, with my own community business, this is the message that has rung through my head since meeting Ken. That the fitness industry has grown in the past 50 years but hasn’t moved on.That our customers don’t really want fitness gadgets or trends, they are transitory. If we want customers for life then we need to re-discover the social side of the fitness industry. Take our customers on holidays, don’t just train them for them. Become a part of our communities, rather than just taking from them.

Ken Heathcote’s Autobiography, The Father of Fitness was published in the UK on 27th September and is available on Amazon.

For more information visit:

Karen Laing is a pre and post natal exercise specialist and journalist. Karen teaches Pilates (including pregnancy specific classes) in Epping, Essex and London and blogs about fitness, women’s health and wellbeing at

Karen co-directs Fit School with her husband Chris. They run fitness classes, ladies only training camps and Pilates classes in Epping and Essex.
TWITTER: @fitschoolessex
FACEBOOK: ccfitschool

Abs are made in the kitchen – the truth about burning belly fat

Chloe  Reynolds - REPs member

Guest blog from REPs Member Chloe Reynolds

One of the questions I get asked most by my clients is “how do I get rid of belly fat” or “how do I get a six pack”. To many people, the dream of a toned tum is only a few hundred crunches away – however we know as fitness people that this just isn’t realistic, or fun. Otherwise we’d all have rippling eight packs right? Wrong. Many traditional ab exercises such as sit ups, bicycles, and ab curl machines are a sure way to a bad back & a rounded shoulder posture – attractive!

To help us understand why this doesn’t work let’s look at the reasons we store fat around the stomach. Belly fat is a result of too much processed food in the daily diet, inactivity & our body’s hormonal response. For example, high levels of the hormone cortisol (which is elevated by stress, overtraining and lack of sleep) affects our response to insulin and encourages fat storage around the middle.

So how do we chisel away those abs safely & efficiently? It all begins in the kitchen. First of all, if we look at the abdominal muscle group we will see that each of us has abs, and that it is the natural shape of the muscle which gives the appearance of a ‘six pack’, however in order to make these muscles prominent we must melt away the overlying subcanteous fat layer, & thicken the muscle.

In order to do this we need to get our clients to clean up their diet & get plenty of greens in (cruciferous veggies are an excellent fat burner). Reduce or eliminate processed foods, grains, soy & wheat (it is thought 6-7% of the population are intolerant to gluten), as these can cause inflammation of the stomach & promote fat storage. Also drinking plenty of water to flush out any nasty toxins – another cause of fat storage. It’s amazing how much of an effect what we eat alone has on the appearance our stomach. Processed foods can cause bloating, and too much salt in the diet can cause water retention which will affect the appearance of the midsection.

Now on to those exercises. Exercising at a high intensity with compound movements, and bouts of high intensity cardio are a quick way to melt away excess fat. Be sure to encourage adequate rest & good quality sleep in order to reduce cortisol levels.

Ideal core exercises promote strength through the mid section, improve our day to day functional movement and improve posture.

Avoid exercises which cause excessive flexion of the spine & instead opt for exercises which counter any bad posture & hit all planes of motion. Improving posture alone can make you look taller and give the appearance of a flatter stomach. The transverse abdominus muscles act as the body’s natural corset to pull us into good alignment (making us look slimmer) & also help us to avoid muscle imbalance & injury. Great exercises to improve posture are cobras, wall angels & bent over rows.

Ideal ab exercises include woodchops, turkish get ups, hanging leg raises, reverse curls, Kettlebell windmills, medicine ball throws, leg lowers, or Jackknives. These are just a few examples of fantastic exercises you can get clients to perform safely, whilst fine tuning the abdominals. The list of exercises is extensive, and with different progressions of each you can keep challenging your clients, and have fun with it.

Once you get your clients to clean up their diet and perform some of these exercises they will soon start to see a difference. Perhaps get them to do you a food diary to monitor progress – often people don’t realise what they eat throughout the week until they see it written down on paper.

Preparing food in advance is also a key way for your clients to stay on track with healthy eating, cooking extra of a healthy dinner to take for lunch saves both time & money, and stops clients from grabbing something convenient yet unhealthy which will contravene their goals.

A flat stomach or a six pack is one of the most sought after aesthetic results that clients of today seek – time to ditch the crunches and clean up the diet!


Join us at LIW


There’s still time to book your place to join us at the National REPs convention, which will take place during Leisure Industry Week, on the 25th and 26th September.

The REPs convention is your chance to meet other like minded industry professionals, gain CPD points and enhance your knowledge.

Here’s just a sneaky peak of you can expect!


REPs members can attend this fantastic event at a discounted price:



Click here to see a full list of sessions and guest speakers happening over the two days at the convention.

Coming to LIW Wednesday 25th September?

Why not join us for a complimentary drinks reception with industry leaders from 5pm at the Skills Active stand (H730)?! This is your chance to have an informal chat with endorsed training providers, awarding organisations and operators from the fitness industry whilst enjoying a relaxing end of day drink.

We’d love to see you there!



Fancy yourself as a budding blogger?

REPs blog image

Do you have any news, ideas or tips you’d like to share with the REPs Community? If so, then we would love to hear from you. We’re always open to your suggestions and contributions for our blogs.

This could be about your experience as a fitness professional, or your views on the latest training, industry news and research. Maybe you’d like to share different techniques that you use in sessions with your clients or tell everyone about an event happening in your area. Whatever you fancy really!

With the potential for your blog to be read by over 30,000 fitness professionals we’d love for as many of you as possible to be involved, so even if you already have your own blog then please do get in touch as we’d like to promote (and cross-post from) a wide range of fitness blogs.

If you are interested then please send your ideas and blogs to

REPs look to tackle childhood obesity


With recent obesity statistics coming to light, the REPs level 2 qualification (Physical Activity for Children) is of the upmost importance. Data from the NHS, as part of its annual child measurement programme, has revealed that between 2006 and 2012 there were seven children who weighed over 20 stone.

Established in 2006, the National Child Measurement Programme measures the height and weight of children in reception and year six annually.  Available under Freedom of Information laws, OpenWorld News discovered the data revealing one boy aged just 11 years old standing at 1.32m (4ft 4in) weighing 147kg (23st 1lb). 

As REPs members it crucial to stress the immense health and economic implications of this data and to highlight the need for accessible, practical education and support for overweight children and their families.

As Registered Exercise Professionals and having the expert industry knowledge, we have the ability to combat this issue, but surely prevention at an early age is best way to move forward. This however, can only be done through collaboration with parents, schools and the NHS with REPs at the forefront of a development strategy to keep children active and engaged in a healthy lifestyle.

Greg Small, Operations Manager for REPs said, “Ensuring children are engaged and enthusiastic about learning the correct exercise habits from an early age should be a major responsibility of accredited professionals. It’s imperative that parents have confidence in their children’s physical activity programmes, knowing that professional guidance is ensuring not only a safe and health weight, but also the self-confidence to go through the teenage years as a happy, healthy weight-appropriate adult. We must ensure that the battle for our children’s health and future happiness is in the best possible professional hands and the work of the Register of Exercise Professionals is an important part of achieving that goal.”

Educating children about the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle is the first step to tackling this strong national crisis. As we all know prevention is better than cure.

Image credit:


Join us at our national convention at LIW 2013! You’ll only kick yourself if you don’t.

ImageWith little over six weeks to go until LIW and the REPs National Convention, there is still time to book your place at what is undoubtedly a major event in the REPs calendar.

Taking place at LIW in Birmingham, the two-day September event will offer great development, networking and learning opportunities for our delegates.

With keynote speakers Dr Ian Campbell (as seen on The Biggest Loser) and Keith Smith (Global Master Trainer for Life Fitness) already confirmed, the programme is not one to be missed.

Download the full programme here.

Want to know a bit more about what a REPs Convention is like? Watch our short film on the last event held in London earlier this year.

REPs members can attend the convention at a discounted price: Image


Leaving your booking until the last minute is just too risky. Why live on the edge? Don’t leave anything to chance and sign-up today.

If you are interested in attending LIW then you will need to visit the LIW website and register. Providing you register in advance it is free for you to attend. However, non-registered visitors will have to pay a £30 entry free on the door.

This annual trade show connects you the with the latest products, services and innovations the industry has to offer and with the attendance of leading companies and industry experts you will be able to see what’s new on the market, and be inspired to develop fresh ideas and experiences for your members and customers.

We really hope to see you all there!

No matter who our clients are, Mothers really do know best – give them the support they need!


Guest Blog from Lucy Miller:

– When it comes to careers and relationships, we know we need to stick to it and put in plenty of effort and enthusiasm to get the best from it. Somehow, this doesn’t seem so easy when it comes to a fitness routine.

Mothers in particular feel time-pressured, juggling endless tasks at home with work commitments, nursery drop-offs, the school runs. A day can regularly spill into the night, and there‘s often an overwhelming feeling of not being able to get anything done. Once you factor in the dreaded sleepless nights, it can be almost impossible to even contemplate putting on trainers and heading out to take part in something that will exhaust you even more.

Added to this, we cannot discount the women who just dislike exercise. Or at least assume they can’t do it. Let’s not forget the thought of all that lycra. How can we be expected to dress like that and share our post-baby bodies with the general public?

As a mother of two, married to a super-committed, international jet-set career man, work means juggling the children, housework and my own business. Managing as a single parent until superman returns, it can be hard to keep on top of things.

In my experience, an understanding of the everyday pressures of my clients is vital to my programming calendar. Sometimes this means offering classes at times when I’d really rather be relaxing on the sofa. Some of my most successful courses for women have taken place as the sun comes up on a Saturday morning and sets on a Sunday evening.

The 2 most important factors that make my classes a success are:

1. Timing

Familiarise yourself with your clients’ personal commitments. Be flexible. Find a time that will always work for your clients. It will be harder for them to turn you down. It will be harder for them to fail.

2. Variety

If your fitness routine is the same every week, you will get bored. Fact. Commit to making your routines as varied as possible. It keeps your clients guessing, eliminates boredom and keeps them entertained. Oh, and of course, it gets great results.

The best measure of success for me is how much fun my clients are having. If they are enjoying my workouts, I will be too. They will want more, and so will I.

About Lucy

Lucy Miller is the founder of Urban Fox Fitness. After successfully launching her business in south east London, Lucy is now developing her client base with native English speakers in Berlin, Germany.

REPs at Flame 2013


It’s been another busy week here at REPs as we attended Flame 2013, an event run by ukactive.

With a conference taking place during the day, a fantastic learning and networking opportunity was presented to the delegates, made up fitness professionals from all across the industry, from gym instructors, right to regional managers and CEOs.

The conference boasted an impressive programme with seminar-style sessions covering a diverse range of topics, including marketing, technology, management, personal development, sales and service.

The event culminated with an awards evening where fitness, leisure and health clubs were rewarded for excellence and best practice over the past 12 months.

The ukactive and Matrix Flame Awards are recognised sector-wide as the most prestigious health and fitness facility awards.

Winners included DC Leisure, who won the Leisure Centre Operator of the Year award, and Featherstone Sports Centre, who won Educational Club of the Year (Schools).

Flame offered a great chance to catch-up with some familiar faces, as well as meet some new ones in what was a fantastic event.

We hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!

Personal Trainers to Watch: last call for entries


Are you one of the world’s top Personal Trainers to Watch? Want to win $5,000 for your business and international media recognition?

With the deadline for entries on 29th June, there are only a few days left to enter the 2013 Personal Trainers to Watch awards by Life Fitness.

The programme seeks to recognise and celebrate personal trainers who demonstrate exceptional leadership, client support, motivation and inspiration. The top 10 finalists will be sent to London to take part in a final live judging event in September, where the 2013 top Personal Trainer to Watch will be announced.


 Follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hash tag #PTtoWatch.

For questions on nominations, please email

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