With the Great North Run just weeks away, Tynesiders are focused on fitness more than ever. Health reporter JANE PICKEN finds out about courses helping people to shape up
IT’S crunch time for 27-year-old Aidan Browne. With just four weeks to go until the Great North Run half-marathon, the full-time private landlord has to make sure his stamina and fitness levels are at their best.
Aidan, from Gosforth, is following in his dad’s footsteps and taking part in the run to raise funds for St Oswald’s Hospice, in Newcastle, which cares for the critically ill.
And to get him ready for the 13-mile run, Aidan signed up to a Newcastle fitness course aimed at everything from shrinking waistlines, increasing stamina and improving overall health, run by Fit Camp North East.
“I’ve been a member at Greens Health Club for a couple of years but haven’t been actively going for a while,” said Aidan.
“In June I started to run on the treadmills more often to get ready for the Great North Run, but knew I needed a bit more help building my stamina and recovery times.
“When the Fit Camp leaflet came through my door I decided to try it.
“It’s 12 sessions that I've been dedicated to and I know one of the trainers will call me if I don’t turn up!
“The sessions themselves are great – they are filled with loads of exercises I've never done before, which are different every week and work all parts of the body.
“It’s been a great help – I'm now up to eight miles in my training and I’m hoping to do the run in under two hours 20 minutes.
“I’ve slimmed down slightly on my waistline and feel much fitter.”
The trainers at Fit Camp North East are now teaming up with Greens Health Club in Gosforth to offer the specialist four-week programme to local people using the club’s facilities.
Fit Camp runs a four-week course of 12 one-hour training sessions that help with weight loss, metabolism, endurance, stability, flexibility and shape.
And from September 11, a new early-morning Fit Camp will be available at Greens so those signing up will have exclusive access to the club’s shower and changing facilities before work.
A second Fit Camp starting on September 8 will also run concurrently at evenings and weekends at Westfield School in Gosforth.
Together, two local specialist personal trainers, Paul Love and James Milburn, both 26, run the courses, offering fitness training using a range of disciplines to help people get fitter – whatever their level.
“We’re very keen to support small local businesses and more than happy to offer Fit Camp at Greens,” said Chris Gilkes, general manager at Greens.
“I’ve seen both Paul and James in action and they do such a fine job that I’m confident people taking part in Fit Camp will get the best out of it.”
More than 100 people have successfully completed Fit Camp this year, benefiting from Paul and James’ expert skills.
The duo are fat-loss experts and bring together their skills in boot camps, personal training, boxing, nutrition, pilates and weight management.
“It’s more cost effective than paying for regular personal training sessions – you get the expertise of two trainers at once and people find training in a group like this helps encourage and motivate them to go further,” said Paul.
“To get involved in Fit Camp you don’t have to be a member of a gym so it’s not a long-term commitment and that suits people who are either just starting out with a new exercise regime, or those who want to boost their current workout.”
Each course has included a mix of men and women aged 20 upwards with varying levels of fitness and each one has since enjoyed reduced body fat, improved lung capacity and overall fitness.
Paul McFarling, commercial director at Emax Group, is about to complete his first Fit Camp after seeing the benefits that others got from the course highlighted in the Evening Chronicle.
The 47-year-old said: “I haven’t done any exercise for about five years – I’ve become the typically late-40s guy with a sedentary lifestyle, just doing light running from time to time,” said Paul, from Ouston, County Durham.
“I was always full of good intentions but more recently have been dreading looking at holiday photographs and not enjoying family jibes about my fitness levels.
“Since starting the course I’ve found my general fitness is 150% better and I’ve lost more than 4% of my overall body fat.
“And it’s really noticeable – I travel a lot for work and have generally taken the escalators at the airport. But now I climb the stairs – and I don’t even get out of breath!”
It’s not too late to sign up for Fit Camp and there are various special offers available at the moment.
The first 20 places for Fit Camp at Greens are available for £99.
Places for evenings and weekend are £149 per person and get cheaper if people sign up with friends.
For more information about these or other Fit Camps in the future, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 07951 051 970 or visit email@example.com
Exercise for a healthy heart
CHARITY Heart Research UK is recommending dancing as a fun way for people to keep fit and keep their hearts healthy.
According the charity, a bit of boogie can work wonders for your heart, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It will help you to maintain the right weight for you and make you feel happier and less stressed.
The World Health Organisation says physical inactivity is responsible for one quarter of all cases of coronary heart disease, which kills more people in this country than any other condition.
You need half-an--hour of moderate intensity exercise every day, that’s something that gets your heart beating a little faster and makes you a little out of breathe – and dancing is ideal.
Having a boogie at your local disco or nightclub or joining dance classes could be the perfect way to stay in shape.
For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK on 0113 297 6206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org