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TGtS Meets... Lydia Baines
With the launch of the fantastic new and unique facilities at Blunsdon Fitness+ and everyone thinking about their New Year Fitness goals, we've caught up with Blunsdon Fitness+ General Manager and Swindon Les Mills instructor Lydia Baines.
How did you turn your passion for fitness into a career?
I have worked in Fitness from the earliest age that I could and probably have my mum to thank for that. I grew up in a rural village in the Lake District and my mum was a member at a local gym. I’d always been in to sports at school and was very keen to join the gym as soon as I was old enough. My mum pestered the gym in to giving me a job as soon as I turned 16 and luckily the gym paid for me to do my Level 2 Gym instructor qualification. I love to learn and in fitness it’s really important to keep learning as there is always new equipment, new fitness trends and new science behind training. Ever since I started work at a gym at 16, I’ve continued to attend fitness training qualifications to develop my knowledge, which has helped me progress throughout my career in fitness. I’ve built my career through various roles at various companies; some small privately owned gyms and I have worked for large corporate chains, all of which I have learned and made good friends from. I started my career off as a gym instructor, then lifeguard, Personal Trainer, Fitness Manager, Studio Instructor and Manager, Sales Manager, Operations Manager, Sports Manager and to where I am really happy now as a General Manager at Blunsdon Fitness+.
How do you stay fit and healthy?
I teach studio classes outside of my role in Gym Management. I teach Les Mills classes; BodyPump, BodyBalance, GRIT, BodyCombat, RPM and SPRINT. I teach 9 of my own classes per week as well as regular cover for any teachers who may be on holiday or not very well. It’s really important to get the balance right and not over-do the exercise so I am careful not to take on too much cover. Early morning classes before work are not for me, I like to make sure I get 8 hours sleep and I find it hard to get to sleep early as I’m usually teaching until 8pm and by the time I’ve got home, showered, cooked and eaten then it’s usually quite late, but I teach 1-2 classes every weekday evening and weekend mornings. I believe that keeping healthy is all about getting the right amount of sleep you need, eating well (but allowing yourself some treats!) and keeping hydrated. I rarely feel unwell or tired and I think it’s all about getting the balance of exercise, sleep and nutrition right, without obsessing over it.
Do you have a motto or favourite motivational quote?
I’m not a fan of quotes but I guess my motto is that ‘your body is the only place you have to live in, so you need to look after it for yourself and for everyone else that cares about you’.
People often struggle with fitness motivation, how do you keep yours?
This isn’t something that I struggle with because I love training and teaching fitness classes so much. It’s become a big part of my life. It makes you feel so much better and gives you so much energy! It’s great socially too. The majority of my closest friends are fellow studio teachers or friends that I have worked with at gyms. I see my friends in classes, at fitness events, fitness courses etc. I might train in the gym with them and then we’ll go and enjoy some food together. If you are struggling with motivation then exercise classes are the best answer, especially Les Mills classes – the music is great and the teachers are so motivational, plus you are bound to meet people there who will encourage you to come along next time!
What are your tips for people looking to get into shape?
Attend a variety of fitness classes. It’s really important not to do the same thing all the time. You need to attend classes that work different aspects of your fitness. For example out of the ones I teach, RPM will give you your cardiovascular fitness, BodyPump will work on muscular tone and strength, BodyBalance will work on your flexibility, your core strength and your balance and SPRINT and GRIT are both HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training classes) classes that will burn body fat, develop lean muscle and get you results quickly. I’d also recommend to see a Personal Trainer, even if it’s not a long term thing, but they are great for giving you motivation, teaching you why you are doing things and making sure you are doing everything properly. They will point you in the right direction and they can be there every step of your way or just every 4-6 weeks for a new fitness programme. Finally I would say to enter a fitness event, one that will give you something to work towards. Something that is going to be a challenge for you, so that after you’ve trained hard for it and completed it, it will give you a big sense of achievement, and then you’ll just want to enter more events!
What are some mistakes people make when working out?
Not working to their full potential and spending too long in the gym. A workout can be done in 30/45minutes maximum that will get you results but of course it depends what your goals or your outcomes are! Some goals will require longer in the gym, but the majority of gym goers are after improved body shape and fitness results – feeling and/or looking good! For this, HIIT training is so effective and can get you in and out the gym in 30 minutes! Other mistakes I see are people doing the same workout for too long a period – your improvements will plateau and become stagnant and you will only be maintaining your current level of fitness, as opposed to continually improving your fitness. It’s so important too, to make sure that you are properly hydrated and have eaten enough that day to fuel your workout. I’ve seen far too many people feeling faint or fatigue during a workout because their blood sugar levels are low. You need to fuel your workout so that you can work to your full potential and get you the results you are after!
Are there any exercises you advise against?
There’s no exercises I’d advise against as long as you are doing everything safely and effectively. I would just advise to keep workouts varied – never do the same thing for an extended period of time, always change your workouts regularly and ensure that you are working muscle groups evenly so that you are not over or under-developing body areas as that can lead to bad posture and health implications further down the line. This is where I would recommend a Personal Trainer to help you develop your gym routine effectively.
What music do you listen to when you work out?
All that’s on my phone is my Les Mills music for classes! It’s all really motivational music and it helps me to learn the routines by listening to it when I train, or when I’m driving!
What foods are always in your fridge?
I eat a mixture of berries every day with natural yoghurt on top so I always have strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries in. There’s always chicken and dairy products – cheese, eggs, yoghurts and milk. I eat asparagus and tenderstem broccoli with pretty much every evening meal so you’ll always find those in my fridge. I always eat freshly prepared food – never ready meals or anything from frozen. All that’s in my freezer are frozen peas! I do a food shop once a week and only buy what’s on my list. I decide what we are having for dinner every night that week and specifically buy for those meals. I never buy treats in on the weekly shop as they won’t last long in my house! I do eat treats at the weekend – I love cakes and puddings as I am a keen baker and I think this is absolutely fine in moderation at the weekends. I eat well, exercise plenty and I don’t drink alcohol so I do allow myself to have what I want on a Saturday!
What's been the most rewarding part of your job?
Where to start with this one! It’s such a rewarding job…seeing peoples confidence grow is a major one. Seeing them achieve their goals and the happiness it brings. Hearing about how much better they feel in themselves – how much more energy they have, how much more pain free they are. Seeing them develop new passions, enter and complete events they never thought they could first do when they first joined a gym, and even just seeing them sat with a coffee with their new friends that they met in a class! It’s a wonderfully social thing. I know plenty of couples who have met their long term partners, husbands and wives at the gym!