Monthly Archives: March 2018

Disabled Sport Equipment in Gyms

Many of Britain’s gyms, leisure centers and swimming pools are “no-go zones” for disabled people and will struggle to cope with an expected surge in interest in fitness activities, following the Paralympic games in 2012.

Although most gyms provided disabled parking spaces, for example, many of the bays are not wide enough to enable a wheelchair to be unpacked from a car. Although a cursory attempt has been made at making the building accessible to disabled and wheelchair users, little thought has been put into an independent wheelchair user gaining access through heavy (non-automatic) doors – with internal doors also proving to be difficult to manoeuver through with ease.

Many gyms have made the minimum changes to adhere to the law – to provide basic access, but have not embraced the full spirit of the law which is to encourage, involve and promote fitness to anyone regardless of their ability.

A crowdsourced survey* of hundreds of gyms across the UK by charity volunteers suggests that many local facilities are partially inaccessible, difficult to navigate and expensive to join. Some did not have specialist disabled sport equipment and nearly half lacked staff trained in disability awareness.

The survey of 300 UK leisure facilities found that:

    • Nearly a third of gyms did not have an automatic door at the entrance to the gym, while some were fitted with heavy internal doors that were difficult to open. One survey reporter said he watched a wheelchair user forced to open such a door by pushing it with his head.

    • Although many gyms had lifts, just over one in five were not working properly. A common problem was that lifts were too small for larger wheelchairs and control buttons were set too high

    • In one case, it was reported that a lift leading to the gym area of a leisure centre did not appear to have been working for more than a year.

  • A quarter of swimming pools did not have hoists to support disabled people to get into the water, while 31% of gyms did not have any fitness equipment that was suitable for disabled people.

This situation is solvable and the Government has encouraged local authorities and gym owners to become accredited as IFI (Inclusive Fitness Initiative) and literally open their doors to all.

IFI is a national scheme whereby fitness suites are awarded grants to increase the range of equipment (such as disabled bikes) that they can offer that is ‘user-friendly’ to disabled people. Staff will receive disability equality training and the fitness instructors are further trained in working with disabled.

The legacy that was promised to inspire a generation must surely be questioned if a proportion of the population who may want to take up exercise in a gym can’t even get in the building!

There is the potential to involve many disabled people in sports. Offering the ability to participate in sports is not a favour due to disabled people, but a responsibility of all local councils. To provide disabled sport equipment, along with adequate staff training should be the aim for every major leisure centre in the country.

Can You Overdo Sports Supplements

Well, I think I’ve done really well. I joined this gym in January along with all the others who thought they’d piled it on over Christmas and its now May and I’m still here. The rest of the gym population has decreased greatly since then, but I’m one of the few who have stuck it out.

My strategy is ‘slowly but surely’. I’ve followed a sensible diet slightly increasing proteins to cope with the light weight training I’m doing and have kept the rest to low fat healthy eating. Gradually, I have seen a change that I’m happy with. I just want to get healthier, fitter and a little stronger, enough to cope with everyday life and the dreaded aging process.

Of course, there is plenty of advertising at the gym to push sports supplements but I wouldn’t call myself a sports person. Apparently, it’s protein and creatine that is needed to boost muscle strength but I prefer to get mine from food than from a sports supplement.

Going to the gym is also a good way of widening your social circle too. I have made several friends since I joined and we’re all making steady progress. However, one young (ish) man, I believe, has become obsessed with his own body.

I fit my gym timetable around my life. The gym IS his life. If I go at 6am, he’s there. If I go at 9pm, he’s there. Admittedly, he has made a great improvement in his physique but I do think he’s taking it a little too far.

At first, he was the same as the rest of us. Turning up in his comfy jogging bottoms and t shirt that did the job. As his strength, and ego, improved he went down to shorts and vest. Now he’s just stretching the bounds of decency with his Lycra attire!

This young man was doing well in his fitness regime. He took note of all the sports supplement advertising to help speed his way to his goal and after a time of testing it out on himself, he became a bit of a bore, talking about nothing else.

His posing in front of the mirror was just embarrassing! He was spending less time actually lifting the weights and more time admiring himself. The day he came up to me, flexed his arm muscles and pointed towards the coffee bar, offering me an after work out drink, well, I just felt embarrassed for him and declined his offer.

I couldn’t believe that my turning down his offer could have such an impact on his self esteem as to bring about such a dramatic change in him over the next few weeks. And I was right. He went from being a self obsessed ego maniac to a very moody, quite aggressive man that nobody wanted to get in the way of.

After several members of the gym had experienced some unpleasant run ins with him and complained to the staff about his hostile behaviour, he was taken to one side to discover what the problem was.

It turns out after starting on a fitness programme and healthy eating plan like the rest of us, things were going well for him. He took note of the advertising campaigns in the gym and had, for some time been consuming sports supplements. He believed that if he exceeded the recommended dosage he would increase his muscles even quicker but it didn’t work.

Sports supplements are designed to work with your body in a healthy way, giving you that little extra boost in addition to a good diet and sensible workout.

Because this young man had become obsessed, he wasn’t happy with the limits his body had set and wanted to continually push the boundaries. He did this by foolishly buying steroids and using them to unnaturally enhance his physique.

When the gym management learnt of his actions, he was strongly advised to visit his doctor for a check up. Without the all clear from a doctor the gym were unwilling to let him continue membership because they believed he was at risk of serious damage to himself.

A Rewiew of the Bowflex Sport Home Gym

If there’s one lasting name when it comes to home gyms, it’s probably Bowflex. With a wide range of products made specifically for home workout enthusiasts, anyone wanting to get into better shape should consider a Bowflex Sport home gym. These pieces of home workout equipment are known for their quality, versatility, and performance.

The Bowflex Sport home gym is a versatile machine that covers virtually every muscle group of the body. Because you’re not working with free weights you don’t need to worry about injuring yourself or having a spotter with you. The power rods make it easy to adjust your weight resistance, but without the danger of a stack of heavy weights.

The Bowflex Sport home gym does take up quite a bit of room; the footprint of it is larger than what most people expect. Not only do you need room for the rod tower, bench, and leg extension, not to mention the room the rods need when they bend while you’re using it. You definitely need the room for this machine, but if you can set aside a room or area of the basement, you’re going to get a workout with the Bowflex Sport home gym that rivals what you’ll get at any gym.

You can get a total body workout in about 20 minutes with the Bowflex Sport home gym if you use it right. It offers 50 different exercises and up to 210 pounds of power rod resistance. You can build your back and shoulders with the lat tower, your glutes, hamstrings, and quads with the lower pulley/squat station, and all the muscles of your legs with the included leg extension/curl station. There’s virtually no part of your body that can’t be worked with the Bowflex Sport home gym.

The power rod technology of the Bowflex Sport home gym is actually preferred by many fitness enthusiasts as opposed to free weights or stacks. They are smoother and easier to use, something that’s important for protection from injury. When you’re working out and your equipment is smoother this also means that you’re working your muscles much more efficiently, getting a better workout overall.

The power rods are connected to a pulley system with cables. As you pull on the workout bars or handles the power rods flex. It feels slightly different that lifting free weights but it will give you the same results. You would think that the rods would break after repeatedly flexing them but I have never heard of it happening. Bowflex is so sure of there patented power rods that the company offers a No Time Limit warranty for the rods and if they should ever wear out they will replace them for free.

Another beautiful feature of using the Bowflex Sport home gym is that you don’t need to worry about the weather, long lines, or a lack of privacy when you want to work out. If it’s pouring rain or snowing outside, you don’t need to worry about getting to the gym. You also can switch quickly and easily between workout routines without letting others in line get to the machine, and without worrying about others looking at you while you work out. So for anyone looking to get back into shape or to improve their exercise routine, the Bowflex Sport home gym should be at the top of one’s list.

Sports Drinks Vs Water

Lucozade, Powerade, Gatorade…

In the 21st century – advertisements for energy drinks are everywhere. You can no longer switch on the television or flick open a magazine without seeing an advert for these glorified potions. It seems that these drinks are taking over the fitness world, and you only have to wander down to your local gym to see just how popular they are.

So what actually are these so called “sports drinks”, and what do they proclaim to do?

A sports drink is a beverage designed to increase energy levels, replace electrolytes and and keep you hydrated. So let’s look at how they claim to do this:

Increase Energy Levels

Sports Drinks are full of sugar – A 500ml bottle of Lucozade energy contains 21 teaspoons of sugar! To put that into perspective, a can of coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. When these sports drinks are consumed, our body converts all the sugar into glucose which is released into our blood stream. This glucose provides our bodies with energy – which is what gives us that “alert” feeling.

The problem is – glucose is a very short lived energy source and has detrimental effects on the body. When we drink sports drinks, our bodies have to produce large amounts of insulin to help our cells absorb the glucose from our blood stream. Any excess glucose is then converted to fat in our livers and deposited into our cells. Insulin also inhibits the breakdown of fat within our bodies. Both these factors encourage the accumulation of fat, and are counter productive when you consider the reason people are at the gym!

The counter argument to this is that the sports drinks provide you with the energy you require to perform an intense workout – which provides benefits that far exceed the negative impacts of the sports drink. Well I say that is a terrible argument, and here’s why..

The average person that visits the gym performs moderate intensity exercise for around 30 minutes. Let’s imagine their chosen exercise is running – in which case they will burn around 250-400 calories in their session. Now let’s imagine they consume a 500ml bottle of Lucozade Sport, which contains 140 calories. That is around half the total calories that they are burning by being at the gym, just from consuming an energy drink. So for every 10 minutes they run, they are only burning 5 minutes worth of calories…

What makes matters worse is the sugar in the sports drink – which is bad for two reasons.

1. As explained earlier – consuming sugar causes a surge in insulin levels, which promotes the accumulation of fat within our bodies.

2. When glucose is readily available in our bloodstream, our cells will use this as their primary source of energy. As a result, the energy we require to perform exercise will come from the glucose in our blood. If we didn’t drink the sports drink then our cells would not have access to that glucose – which means they would have to get energy from breaking down our fat.

As you can see – sports drinks are a counter-productive method for someone who want’s to lose fat. However, those in support of sports drinks will still argue that they provide you with the energy that you require to perform exercise. However again, that is a flawed argument..

The average gym visitor has access to more than enough energy to perform 30 minutes of exercise. They are likely to have glucose in their bloodstream from their meals that day, and if they run out of glucose, they can breakdown fat reserves to power their bodies. The only time when sports drinks are beneficial is for ultra endurance athletes – the kind that are performing intense exercise for hours on end. But even then, there are far better sources of energy – what’s wrong with a good old banana? Not only is this far better for your body than sports drinks, but it is broken down far slower so provides sustained energy over a long period of time – as opposed to a short spike that is supplied by glucose. In short – sports drinks are just as bad for us as sweets, and there are far better ways to provide our bodies with the energy required for exercise.

Replacing Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals that can be found in blood and cells, and help to regulate bodily fluids. The most well known of these are Sodium and Chloride.

During exercise – the body’s electrolyte balance can begin to shift – and as the body loses electrolytes through sweat, the imbalance can result in symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue and nausea. Sports drinks capitalise on this by promising that they can replace the electrolytes in our bodies and prevent these symptoms Whilst there may be an element of truth in this – it is irrelevant to the average gym visitor. Our bodies lose electrolytes relatively slowly, so unless you are exercising for over an hour, your body will be able to address its electrolyte imbalance without the need for sports drinks.

Hydration

The final promise of the “sports drinks” is that they keep you hydrated. Keeping hydrated is an important part of any exercise routine, as the body loses water far quicker than it loses electrolytes. A lack of water can lead to dehydration which results in fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness and poor concentration.

However – do you want to know the best way to keep your body hydrated? WATER

There is absolutely no better way to hydrate your body than to drink water – and plenty of it. What’s more – it’s free, contains no calories and has a multitude of benefits to your body.

The other trouble will sports drinks is that they encourage you to drink before you feel thirsty. They claim the reason for this is that once you feel thirsty – it is too late – and dehydration has already kicked in. This is absolute nonsense, and there is simply no scientific research to back up this claim. Our bodies are extremely complex machines that have evolved over thousands of years. Considering water is the single most important element for our survival, I’m sure our bodies have developed the ability to warn us when we need to drink (before we get dehydrated). And how does it do that? It’s called being thirsty!

The fact of the matter is, we do not need to drink water until we feel thirsty, as this is our bodies way of letting us know we need to drink. The danger of drinking before we feel thirsty is that it can result in over hydration – which is very dangerous. People very rarely die of dehydration, but it is very common for people to die of over hydration.

So there you have it..

Sports Drinks are completely unnecessary for the average gym visitor:

– They contain a massive amount of sugar.
– They are rich in calories
– They promote fat accumulation in your body.
– They are a short term energy source.
– They are useless in regards to replacing electrolytes unless exercising for 1 hour+
– They are an expensive form of hydration – water is free and more effective.