I finally have a new gym – but it’s a gym that’s more than a gym! (If you want to read about how I set about finding a new gym then make sure that you’ve read yesterday’s post.) My new gym is actually a Fitness & Wellbeing Centre which is run by Nufield Health. It’s on Cannon Street in the City, a stone’s throw from Bank station (on the central line, massive thumbs up!) and overlooking the Thames. It has the best class timetable that I have seen – lots of variety, lots of different start times – and a really nice, friendly atmosphere. The pool is gorgeous and there’s a brilliant chill-out area with sunloungers next to the pool that looks out directly onto the Thames!
I could harp on and on about the things I love about the New Gym, but I want to tell you about the thing that really swayed my decision. The unique ‘selling point’ that make this gym (and the other centres in the Nuffield chain) different to any of the other establishments that I have seen, which is this:
It really is more than just a gym. There’s a huge emphasis on health and wellbeing rather than the typical gym ‘attitude’ which seems to be “which parts do you most want to tone up then?” Or “is it weight-loss or just toning-up that you want?” Nuffield’s approach to health and fitness is that the two things should go hand-in-hand – that exercise is just one part of keeping yourself healthy and trim. They are unique in that they have a whole network of doctors and health experts on hand to advise and guide – everything is geared towards overall health rather than the gym just being somewhere you go to run on the treadmill for half an hour.
Nuffield’s attitude towards exercise is very similar to my own – it should be something that is done as part of an all-round healthy lifestyle. For many people, the gym simply does not work because they don’t incorporate it into an all-round healthy lifestyle. People, for example, who go spinning three times a week yet are still morbidly obese, or play squash on a daily basis yet have terrible fitness levels because they also smoke twenty a day and have a junk food addiction. There are plenty of examples (including, at times in the past, myself!) of people for whom going to the gym is an utter waste of time, and I really do believe that for the most part it is because these people have had no professional advice or support. Helpful as many gym staff are, I’d hazard a guess that a lot of them aren’t medically trained – they’ll have done a number of courses and qualifications, but doctors they ain’t. And, let’s face it, how many GPs will sit down and talk to you about your general health and fitness concerns? Mine would laugh me out of the office!
When I thought about launching this Health and Fitness section on A Model Recommends I had loads of fears about how to approach the sensitive issues surrounding weight, body image and diet, but when I really sat down and thought it through, I realised that my own views on the matter were pretty straightforward: if you’re fit and healthy, you’ll look and feel good. You’ll be slimmer, your skin will be clearer and you’ll probably live longer. This is a completely different thing to ‘being thin’. It requires more work, more effort, more dedication – it’s much easier to live off salad, coffee and cigarettes for a few weeks than it is to develop a long, lean, toned body – but I know which one looks and feels nicer. I’ve had both bodies!
So. My New Gym. It’s different because Nuffield are concerned with health and wellbeing first and foremost (private health care is the name of their game) with gym-buffed bodies a runner-up, a part of the overall business of looking and feeling great. They make a point of every member having initial health assessments (which includes blood tests for cholesterol and blood-sugar) so that an appropriate fitness plan can be advised. The health team work closely with the fitness team so that exercise plans are realistic and absolutely appropriate for that particular member and personally, I think that this kind of tailored service is invaluable. You’re more likely to stick to a plan that has been carefully thought out, that takes your lifestyle into account, which allows (to a certain extent!) for your likes and dislikes. The assessment also flags up any underlying health issues that would probably go undetected otherwise in many cases – how often do you pop to the GP to have your cholesterol checked?!
Please don’t think, though, that this gym is a namby-pamby ‘go easy on yourself’ gym; it’s actually the most impressive that I have seen in the City. Well-stocked with all kinds of machines and equipment, well-staffed with the best trainers and class instructors and – as mentioned – the most comprehensive class timetable in existence. I can’t wait to get started – I’m hoping that I’ll be able to tap into the wealth of expert medical knowledge flying about and ask millions of questions about getting fit. I have some lined up already:
1) Can I get fit whilst I sleep?
2) Is it true that drinking red wine keeps you fit?
3) Do you think I’m fit? (JOKE! I’ll only say that one if it’s a George Clooney-esque doctor.)
They won’t know what’s hit them! You can read up more on the Nuffield centres HERE!
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