Last year I took on a new challenge, delivering women only fitness classes for students and staff at Manchester Metropolitan University. I gave the classes my all and ended up leading consistently the most highly attended fitness classes across all of the uni all year!
I wanted to create fitness classes that motivated women to get fit in a non-judgemental and fun environment. Most exercises in the Legs and Bums and Ab Attack F.I.T Classes had easier versions for people new to fitness, and more advanced versions for regular gym goers.
Week 1 had an alright turn out. Here’s our post-workout photo! Happy faces and The Cheerleading Society setting up in the background!
Week 2 OMG people must have told their friends to come along! I was so glad I had a microphone!
I created an uplifting female fronted music playlist, featuring music from inspiring women musicians like MIA, Missy Elliott, Beyoncé, Rihanna and The Slits. I wanted all participants to leave the sessions feeling really empowered, and like they’ve had a damn good workout!
I love it how as the weeks passed, the post-workout photo started to look more and more like a sports team!
Sometimes the classes had specific themes. During Uni Mental Health Awareness Week, I ended the Ab Attack F.I.T Class with 15 minutes of yoga. I turned the music down, whacked the more relaxing playlist on (Bjork, Cocteau Twins, Portisead) and encouraged a show of hands to see who had never done yoga before! It was great to see that many of the participants were new to yoga. I spoke about the benefits of yoga for the mind, body and soul, and ended with key poses that are specifically designed to help the body relax and wind down, such as child’s pose.
Here we are balancing in tree pose!
I also invited all participants to give themselves a pat on the back, because turning up to fitness classes whilst at university is really great for reducing stress levels, along with reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as giving everyone a boost of endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormones, and helping everyone get a good nights sleep!
By January the class participation had grown beyond belief! It was truly great to see so many people up for getting fit after over indulging over the festive period, but from then on, we had to cap the class number at NO MORE THAN 70!!!
Even though people had to be turned away every session, people still kept coming back for more! I recommended people who had to be turned away go home and smash out a 30 minute legs, bums and tums workout on their bedroom floor, incorporating exercises they have learned in my sessions! It was an incredible feeling seeing the same faces come back week in week out, and to see people’s fitness levels increase, along with their bodies becoming more toned and their confidence levels improving too.
Because of the popularity of these classes, MMU Sport HQ decided to add another F.I.T Class to the fitness timetable. We welcomed @bex.hellyer to the F.I.T Class fam and she started to teach classes on Thursday evenings at Sugden Sports Centre, focusing on weight training. Bex’s F.I.T Classes have also been highly attended, and students kept telling me that they love the combination of my bodyweight and plyometric Ab Attack and Legs and Bums classes, along with Bex’s weightlifting classes. People were really starting to see results!
During @ThisMMUGirlCan Week I encouraged everyone to do their research and check out This Girl Can, if they’re not yet aware of this incredibly inspiring and successful fitness campaign. Before the first session started, Abi Dean and I showed the participants a This MMU Girl Can banner and invited everyone to sign their names on the banner, pledging on inspire and encourage other women and girls to become more physically active. I love my job!
I ADORE This Girl Can and I can still remember the shivers-down-the-spine psysiological affect that seeing the first This Girl Can video in 2015 had on me. Such a fantastic campaign to inspire more women and girls to become more physically active. It was just so refreshing to see women of all shapes and sizes, ages, colours getting physically active, and enjoying themselves! SOUNDTRACKED BY MISSY ELLIOTT’S GET UR FREAK ON. SO MUCH LOVE!
Never before had I seen a fitness video like this! I know so many people who have been inspired by this campaign. Whatever your gender, if you find yourself needing some exercise motivation, watch this video! Get up and go!
I also love the newer This Girl Can video. Even more ridiculously energising and inspiring footage of women in various types of exercises and sports, doing their thing, in conjunction with a recording of legend Maya Angelou reading her Phemomenal Woman poem. Perfection.
At the end of the This MMU Girl Can Week class I suggested the idea of channelling our inner goddess for the post-workout photo!
Here we are holding Warrior 2 yoga pose at the end of Legs & Bums class. Warrior 2 (AKA Virabhadrasana II) is a standing pose that enhances strength, stability and concentration, whilst stretching the legs, groin and chest.
It’s wonderful that some people made the time to keep coming to the F.I.T Classes during the exam period. Did you know that exercise, specifically weight training, frazzles your central nervous system in a way that you are less likely to experience stress and nervousness for the next 24 hours?! Shoutout to weight lifter Kath Shack who told me this awesome piece of information!
At the end of the academic year, I thanked everyone from coming to the classes and bringing such high energy, and wished all students the best of luck for their exams!
Now that Freshers Week is out of the way and lectures have started this week, my classes are starting up again tonight!
I am so excited to welcome all the new faces and say hey to the regulars from last year! Expect new playlists, some new exercises and some of the same! Let’s see how long people can hold plank for to measure where your core stability is at today, and let’s take it from there!
If you’re a female staff member or student at Manchester Met, come to Brooks sports hall, bring your ID card, your water bottle and get involved.
F.I.T Class Legs & Bums 18:00-18:30
F.I.T Class Ab Attack 18:30-19:00
The classes are free as part of Active Campus, the fantastic drive to get more staff and students physically active on campus.
Roll On YEAR 2! LET’S DO THIS!