We have been members at David Lloyd Health Club for a few weeks now, after they gifted us six month family membership to review*. So I’m busy plotting our first steps to fitness. As I explained in my last post about our wellness journey, our ultimate goal is not to be gym bunnies. We want to improve our health and spend more time together as a family.
But, we’re not getting any younger, and I have zero energy, constant headaches and a dodgy back. I’m reliably informed that being fitter will help with all of these problems, so that is my plan!
Our First Steps to Fitness with David Lloyd
Ryan and I actually joined David Lloyd over seven years ago, but about two weeks later I found I was pregnant with Ava, and then pretty much used that as an excuse not to go. I was suffering from morning sickness, and had been advised that I shouldn’t start any high impact exercise. Of course exercising in pregnancy is generally fine, but I a) didn’t feel like it and b) was worried I would harm my baby, as I didn’t have any fitness to build on.
So this time, I am actually going to use the gym! Now we have Ava and Thea, it’s important to use to spend time with them, and decrease the stress in our lives so it doesn’t rub off on them. So starting a fitness regime seems sensible.
How David Lloyd Helps Families With The First Steps to Fitness
David Lloyd is set up for families, so there’s no excuse for us adults not to use the facilities. As well as the indoor play centre I showed you in my last post, there is a creche and DL Kids club.
I signed Ava and Thea up to some DL Kids sessions last weekend. Unfortunately due to their ages, they can’t go into the same group. I booked Thea into Mini Dance (for 3-4 year olds) and Ava into Get Active (for 5+). Ava had a total meltdown. She was sobbing and refusing to go in as she didn’t know anyone. Then Thea got upset as Ava wasn’t going in to her group! Thea eventually calmed down and seemed to have fun, but we had to give up with Ava. She was beside herself. So that was disappointing!
This weekend, I tried Make & Create and Let’s Create. We had to bribe Ava with the promise of an ice cream to get her to go, as she was refusing point blank! But luckily, although they are still in the two separate groups, they are in the same room. So that made it much easier. They went in happily, and Ryan went to a class, and I waiting in the lounge and had breakfast. I got them an hour later and they were bopping about to Elton John, and had obviously had fun.
I just went to pick the girls up from their Make and Create session at @davidlloydclubs_miltonkeynes to find them bopping along to #eltonjohn 😂😍 So happy they had fun, as Ava had a proper meltdown last week about going and we don’t really know why. Meanwhile I’ve enjoyed some #MumMeTime with a bowl of yummy porridge and a cup of tea in the lounge outside. Just a bit gutted I forgot my magazine in the rush to get here for 9am! Ryan is doing a class and we’re heading to the pool now for a family swim 🏊 What do you have planned? #DLfamilytime
We are finding that the sessions don’t marry up ever so well with the exercise classes timetable. The sessions run on the hour, but many of the classes start on the half hour. So one of us has to either just do a quick 25 minute session in the gym, to be out in time to get them, or wait for them in the lounge. I think if they ran at the same time as the classes, with perhaps an extra ten minutes either side to allow for settling them in, and getting to and from the adult class, it would be more effective.
There is a family changing area and baby change facilities plus a play pen. The changing rooms have large lockers, and a couple of private cubicles. There is a shower with a fold down seat, so you can pop your baby safely in it whilst you shower. Of course it’s still stressful getting the kids showered and changed, but that’s life! It’s so much easier than taking them to swimming lessons at our local pool!
First Steps to Fitness with Swimming
I have never been a fan of swimming. I hate cold water and the palaver of leg shaving and clammy swimsuits. But the girls and Ryan LOVE it. So I am trying to get over myself! Luckily the pool at David Lloyd is warm, so that makes a big difference! We have had a few family swims there, which has been fun, but I have snuck off to the hot tub, leaving Ryan with the girls.
This weekend, we tried the out door pool as the weather was quite nice. The pool is heated but it’s still pretty chilly. Thea loved it but look at Ava’s face – too cold mummy!
So Ava got out and took this picture of me in the ‘hot’ tub. It was also too cold for me, so Ava and I went back inside leaving Ryan and Thea to it!
I think the outdoor pool area will be lovely in the summer! The girls are so happy that I am going swimming with them too, as normally it’s just Ryan.
David Lloyd make it easy to get yourself looking presentable after getting all sweaty. There are large mirrors, with powerful hairdryers and plugs for straighteners, so it’s easy to put your make-up on when you get out of the shower.
Exercise Advice for My First Steps to Fitness
I’ve had a session with one of the trainers in the gym, and he showed me how to use some of the equipment and gave me some exercises. We also discussed the barriers to meeting my goals, which are family and work commitments.
I don’t think the gym is really my forte to be honest. I can’t seem to work the equipment and find it quite dull. I also get the giggles as I am so bad at it. I do think the Power Plate may be helping my back though, so I have been going on that after other classes, even if I don’t use the rest of the equipment.
I have another session with Saj, so I will have to confess I haven’t really been using the gym. I do intend to try again at this though, and build up my confidence.
My First Steps to Fitness: Group Exercise
As you may have read on my last post, I already thought I would be more comfortable with group exercise. I’ve definitely found that to be the case. I’ve tried quite a few so far, and these are my thoughts.
It’s so tight for me to get there for 9am after school drop, off so that was not a relaxing start. But the class was fantastic, and I can see why it gets booked up immediately.
I went to this class by accident, thinking it was something else! It involves a lot of balancing work on, and using a Pilates ball. I could manage some of it, but most of it was well beyond me. Big respect to the people who can do it! I could feel my back going so although it was quiet fun, but too challenging for me at the moment. The finale involved kneeling on the ball, and trying to catch another ball that the instructor threw to you. I couldn’t even do four point kneeling, nevermind kneeling up! I fell off the ball a couple of times during the class, which made me laugh. I was aching for days afterwards, so I need to gain strength before attempting it again.
I enjoyed this class, it was challenging, but within my comfort zone. I couldn’t manage all of it due to my back, but felt like I’d had a thorough workout!
I have been doing Pilates on and off for about ten years, so this is the only class where I feel confident that I know what I’m doing. The teachers for Pilates and Yoga give us three levels so you can work at the level you’re comfortable at. I managed the second level for some of the exercises, but I am so wary of hurting my back again, I am not going to push myself too much.
This was good fun, and I much prefer it to normal aerobics as I don’t like getting sweaty! I found it hard to keep up because of the resistance of the water. Luckily no one can really tell what you’re doing under the water, so you don’t look like a fool. This lesson was with a new teacher, and the ladies I was chatting to at the end said it’s not normally that hard. They said “This was like bootcamp!” and looked a little shell-shocked. Although I was challenged by it, I never felt out of my depth (pardon the pun!) It’s a long class (1 hour) but because each routine only lasts the length of a song, it didn’t get boring. I even managed a few lengths of the pool after, then rewarded myself with a session in the hot tub.
I am going to need a new swimming costume though, as I had to hold on to it to stop it from stretching down when I jumped out of the water!
This is the easiest of the classes I’ve tried so far, although the steps aren’t that simple. It gets you moving and was certainly a lot of fun. I’ll do it again as I enjoyed it, and hope it will teach me some of the moves so I can progress to doing it on dry land!
Both aqua classes were so friendly and the ladies (and a handful of men) were welcoming and asked me how I was at the end. You can tell they are friends and meet every session, and go to the steam room or hot tub after, so it’s really sociable.
So What’s Next After My First Steps to Fitness?
So these are my first steps to fitness, and hopefully wellness. My plan is to do one Aqua class and one Pilates/Yoga/Simply Stretch class a week. Once I have gained some level of fitness, I hope to add a more high energy class, such as Zumba or Body Jam. I hope to get my confidence up in the gym, and also to do a bit of swimming.
Because I’m self-employed, I do get stressed, trying to juggle deadlines, and keep on top of invoicing, admin and family life. I find that all of the classes help clear my mind, as I have to concentrate so hard, so hopefully this will benefit my health too.
I am worried about losing momentum, especially when the weather gets colder and it’s darker earlier. Because I work for myself, I am lucky that I can go to classes during the day, and make my time up later. I think that may be the key, as I know once I get in and get cosy, going out in the dark will be the last thing I want to do!
I have noticed that Pilates and Yoga classes get booked up almost immediately. I have set up alerts on my phone to remind me to book at 8pm, when the next batch of classes is released. But I do wonder if David Lloyd needs to consider putting on more of these most popular classes. It’s OK for me as I am more flexible, but Ryan is finding it more difficult to book on, as he is much more limited in timings. He has been using the gym more, as he can do that at any time, but would like to be able to do more Yoga or Pilates to stretch out after his long commute. Ryan has managed to hit his weekly Apple Watch Activity Goals this week, so he’s very happy with that.
I’m using the David Lloyd Business Lounge to work before or after classes. Our internet has been playing up recently, so it’s been so useful.
The only problem is the vast array of delicious food tempting me! So far I’ve been retrained and stuck to coconut porridge, but it’s early days yet!
Give me a follow on Instagram, as I will be posting updates on my progress. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep the momentum up and improve our health and wellbeing over the next six months! Watch this space!