Background to the Romsey Men's Fitness Classes

About 5 years ago I had a heart attack. Then I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was lucky; I lost weight, started exercising and have returned to full fitness and enjoy competitive sport again. 

I learned a lot on my journey back to health. Not least that there are very few classes designed for men. Sure, they can go to the gym where they will find young superfit men and lycra-clad young women bursting with energy peddling away on static bikes,  pounding the treadmills or pushing weights on complicated machines.(And incidentally probably not making themselves much fitter).

If you are a lady in your late forties, fifties or sixties, there are any number of fitness-related classes you can go to. Many of these are exclusively for women and those that are not - typically things like yoga or pilates are largely frequented by women.

Many men would like to get fit again but they just do not feel drawn to gyms or classes filled by women; particularly when they are starting out on the journey back to the fitness and vigour they used to have.

How are the classes structured?

In designing these classes I was very clear that no one will get fit or maintain their fitness on one class a week. For that reason, all the exercises are designed to be done at home without access to gym equipment. There are a few small items that I will suggest people acquire but they are not essential.

Fitness is actually quite complex; it encompasses strength, power, the cardiovascular system, various forms of endurance, as well as flexibility, balance and movement quality.

Those participating in the classes don't need to know the fine detail but it does help to understand why the classes are structured as they are.

They are actually based on the type of strength and conditioning sessions athletes of all ages should be doing alongside their sport specific training.

Sport specific training has huge benefits but it also tends to have some negative side effects.  These types of session are aimed at reducing the risk of injury, building and maintaining strength in those parts of the body not exercised by their sport, maintaining flexibility in muscles that tend to shorten and tighten during the main training, developing core strength and promoting fluid efficient movement.

What do those attending an exercise class get?

Obviously, a training session lasting 45 minutes to an hour. It is not particularly high intensity, people work at a pace that they are comfortable with. They will be short of breath at times - but not for very long, they will be working their muscles hard but for fairly short intervals.

In addition to the classes each person:

  • Has an initial consultation to ensure the classes are right for them, ascertain their goals and find out what limitations they may have
  • An initial fitness review
  • A set of exercises to do during the week
  • A plan for the month ahead
  • Access to advice on nutrition and other lifestyle issues - if they want it

A final note - Why are the classes not ball busting?

Interestingly it is not during exercise that people get stronger but during the recovery period afterwards. During this recovery period, the body repairs itself from the micro-damage done during the session and makes adaptations to make it better able to cope with the stresses placed upon it.

The limitation on building the body is, therefore, not the amount of training you can do but the rate at which the body can recover. As one gets fitter the speed of recovery also improves so you can push yourself further during training but there is no benefit in doing more than you can recover from between sessions.

Lifestyle and longevity

A few small changes can make a huge difference to the length of time you can expect to live. the calculator linked to this article was produced by the actuarial department of a large life insurance company.

As well as calculating yours you might like to play around with your answers an see what a few changes might do. 

I'm pleased to say that if I maintain my current lifestyle I can expect to be irritating my wife and embarrassing m,y children for another 35 years. If I slide into an unhealthy approach they could expect to put me in a box in less than 5 years.

Click here to look at the calculator

Click here to view the Life Expectancy Calculator.

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