Category Archives: Health Club

How To Stay Healthy Over The Festive Season

Christmas is a time traditionally given to overindulge as Christmas drinks, office parties and family get-togethers fill our December calendar. Our Fitness team offer their tips to make sure you stay feeling healthy and great over the festive period.


Plan your workouts
Set a goal and get yourself organised. Look at your schedule for the busy time and plan your workouts around any events you might have. If you leave it until the day you are most likely going to think of an excuse and not go to the gym, remember that any workout is more healthy than no workout. If you have time try to fit some exercise before or after your party/event. Work hard and keep motivated towards your goals.

Over the festive season there will be a gym challenge to help motivate you and push you to work harder in your gym workout; this in turn will help you towards your overall goal.

Set limits
If you know you have a busy week try and control what you have to eat i.e. portion sizes, controlled carbs and eating until you are completely full. You don’t need to have three courses each time. Volunteer to be the driver one evening you’ll cut out lots of calories by skipping alcohol or have a non-alcoholic drink every other drink. Again go back to planning, plan what you will have to eat throughout the day and take it with you, this will help cut out the snacking and help you remain healthy. Set a limit of how many times you’d like to use the gym and try to integrate that with your schedule.

Christmas is also a time to relax so even if you haven’t got a busy schedule still try and get to the gym, drink plenty of water and keep to your goals.

Stick to it
As difficult as it’s going to be, stick to your plan and remember what your goals are. You can always come and speak to the Fitness Instructors for advice and if you want to change up your programme, to make your workouts more challenging and enjoyable over the festive season we can arrange that for you. Ask your friends and family to keep you motivated as well with all aspects of your workouts and healthy diet.

Most importantly, enjoy yourselves this festive season. Being in control will help you do this and maintain your healthy regime!

Change Your Routine to Keep Seeing Results

You’ve set yourself a hard gym routine to help get you through the summer season, now it’s time to make a change to keep on seeing those results. Phoebe McCully, a Senior Fitness Instructor at our Health Club, gives us some top tips.

 Matrix gym cardio suite at Donnington Valley

Sticking to the same routine can be very easy and comfortable, but at some point, your routine may not give you the results you want, so you need to shake things up. Changing your workout routine can be a motivator and may make things more interesting for you.

You work hard in the gym trying to find the routine that suits you. You start the routine and you notice that it is helping you make the changes that you want, so you stick with it. However, after a few months you may notice that the changes you liked to see have stopped appearing. The reason this happens is because repetition means the body can adapt. It will know what to expect and will then use less energy.

So here aresome signs that you can look for when deciding if you should change up your routine.

Do you get bored in the gym? Are you noticing fewer results? You find the workout less challenging? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you need to mix things up!

Instead of just spending your amount of time on the treadmill, or cross trainer at a constant speed, I recommend our clients try our new ‘Sprint 8’ software. It is designed to help improve fitness levels, and burn away fat. It will be hard and will kick-start your body into making those changes again.

Mix up your strength routine by adding in a super set, to challenge your muscles even more. Finish the reps on the exercise that you are doing and then go straight into another one for the same muscle group. Super sets will help improve your endurance and build muscle.

If you make changes you will keep seeing results, and you will stay motivated. Try to make a change every four to six weeks. To help you make the right changes, why not book in for a review with the Fitness team? We would be only too happy to help and you never know how it will change the way you feel about your routine fore the better.

Trim up for holiday, hit those target areas

The sunny weather and social season is upon us and in the back of your mind you will have that niggling wish you’d done those extra couple of minutes in the gym, attended that spin class or lifted a heavier weight. Phoebe McCully our Senior Fitness Instructor helps you make that change.

Trim up for holiday

If you always do the same routine in the gym, your body won’t make the changes you want to see. Yes you might have seen some positive developments in the beginning but as you go on, your body adapts to what you are doing and will plateau. So make a change and get the results you want.

Try a different cardio machine that will work you harder. For example if you always tend to use the treadmill switch to the Stair Climber, you’ll feel your heart rate pick up, helping to push those fitness levels higher. The Stair Climber will also help add some toning work to your legs.

Try a different exercise for the muscle you want to train. By changing your routine around, you will find that you will be bringing other muscles in to play that you wouldn’t have used before, helping you get that shape and toned look you have been fighting for. There are many different exercises you can use to tone and strengthen each body part. For example, if you always do squats to help train your lower body, why not try a walking lunge? It still trains your lower body as well as hitting different areas.

Try swimming; this is also a great form of all-round exercise. It’s ideal if you want to be more active and stay healthy, whatever your age or ability. Swimming can help tone muscles, correct posture and improve core stability. Try to vary your strokes to eliminate boredom and ensure every muscle group gets a workout.

Try a class

If the thought of pushing weights or different exercises bores you, then classes are surprisingly easy and addictive alternative – and prove results.

If your target area is to train and strengthen your core, then come along to one of our abs classes; you will come away with new ideas. Aimed at giving you an intense workout to strengthen the core abdominal and lower back muscles, it will help you get over that plateau. Or for better body tone and shape, Body Toning class will sculpt the entire body, helping you burn fat, gain strength and produce lean muscle.

This month why don’t you try and get yourself out of your comfort zone and make the changes, so you get to see the results you want?

Uncomplicated British Beauty: delilah

Every woman wants to feel special every day with minimal make-up fuss. Last Monday, the delightful Rupert Kingston introduced delilah, his luxury beauty brand, to our product range.

Delilah Cosmetics
Uncomplicated British beauty from Delilah Cosmetics

Remember that understated glamour you feel every time you don a new colourful lipstick or every time you wear your favourite perfume? That’s how luxury and select make-up range delilah made us feel last night.

And as we learned, there’s no reason why we can’t feel that way all (or most!) of time with the right products. Borne of twenty years international experience in beauty buying and make-up artistry, delilah was carefully formulated in Italy from the finest ingredients. This capsule collection offers women a touch of understated luxury that they can enjoy everyday.

Importantly, delilah does not contain parabens, those modern-day nasties which recent research attests is no good for our skin at all. Instead, the products feel great, lightweight, and let your skin breathe.

Rupert offered a host of excellent tips and tricks as well, such as always to wear an SPF (I’m so guilty of forgetting but skin will be grateful in the long-run), that a brow pencil can so easily enhance your look, and that your choice of make-up brushes can dramatically enhance the application. Invest – or choose wisely initially – for long term gain.

Touching and feeling the products really brought this to life – the packaging is gorgeous and feels on a par with YSL or Chanel – very important in making a product feel extra special. With a host of pretty corals, daring poppies for the lips, warm browns, peacock greens and sultry purpose for the eyes, Rupert also aided our decision on choosing colours. Essentially, while the ‘barely-there’ is great, if you feel daring, don’t be afraid to wear colour!

The main takeaway was that make-up should be fun, easy, and make your skin look good (rather than being obvious). And delilah products very much did the job. I’m placing my order right now.

Bored of the treadmill?

Donnington Valley Health Club

Donnington Valley Running Club

With the summer approaching and the weather, on the whole, becoming more favourable and improving running conditions its no surprise that more and more is us decide to take up running over the summer months.

Our running club takes full advantage of the improving conditions as we take in the beautiful surroundings on a variety of terrains. The running club is suitable for all levels of running ability and represents an ideal opportunity to try out something new. The routes we take can be adapted to suit your current ability with our more experienced participants able to try out longer or more challenging routes if they wish. Don’t let the term “running” put you off either, you can jog at your own pace, if you want to be pushed then the instructor can do this; however if your just looking for some general exercise then this class is perfect for you.

The class consists of a light warm up followed by a gentle jog, once you are completely warmed up the option is there to increase speed or stay at the pace, the instructor will run between groups and navigate the route. Once the run has finished, a cool down is completed followed by stretches.

If you are interested in running and you’re bored of the treadmill, want a change or fancy seeing the sights of the surrounding area then please do book into our running club class every Tuesday morning at 9.30am.

Take a look at our current class timetable on our website and also browse our membership options.

James Beldam

Senior fitness instructor

Matrix Climb Mill

Matrix Climb Mill

The Matrix Climb Mill

At Donnington Valley we are very proud of our brand new top of the range Matrix cardio suite; within this suite we have got all you need to have a great workout. One of my favourite pieces of equipment is the Climb mill; if you are unfamiliar with the Climb mill then it’s a set of 4 steps which rotate round to a speed set by the user; this provides the user to be able to keep climbing steps over and over again without reaching the top.

We all know how hard it is to climb stairs all day which makes this such a beneficial machine not only with cardiovascular benefits but also muscular endurance.

To some the machine may seem “scary” as it is larger than other pieces of cardio equipment, however there are many safety mechanisms and stop buttons on the machine which allows the user to be in full control at all times. I can imagine the first user of a treadmill found that a “scary” experience to start off with, it’s all about making yourself familiar with the equipment you use and that comes with consistency.

There are variations of workouts in which you can perform on the climb mill, you could increase the speed making it more cardiovascular or even keep the speed low and miss a step which makes the user lunge, lunging means there is a greater range of motion on the muscle which acquires a greater force from the user to return to a standing position, this promotes muscular endurance and strength.

If you have not used this particular machine before then I recommend starting with 5-10 minutes at a steady pace and work your way up for more challenging workout once you’re familiar with the technique, and of course you can always ask for guidance from the fitness team.

For more details on our memberships please see our website or call us on 01635 551188

James Beldam
Senior Fitness Instructor

New Year, New You

Matrix gym cardio suite at Donnington Valley

New Year, New You. New Year’s resolutions and how to keep them

We all know that when we set New Year resolutions, no matter what they are, they usually last for about a month before we give up, think it’s unachievable or frankly can’t be bothered!

Being within the fitness industry I see this every year, at the start of January everyone wants to get fit and healthy, but by the end of January, February or March time, the new faces that I’ve seen come through the door are no more; at least until next January!

So I’ve come up with five top tips to help you stick to your New Year’s resolution and become a healthier and fitter version of yourself.

Set goals

Set yourself short term goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. Having shorter goals makes achieving your longer term goal a lot easier, think of them as stepping stones.

Have a routine

Think realistically about what days of the week you can go to the gym and what times. Have a plan of exactly when you will be going to the gym on a weekly basis, you are more likely to follow a plan than spontaneously deciding to go.

Talk to a professional

Get advice from a personal trainer, one of the most common reasons why we give up is due to lack of understanding in what we are doing, personal trainers are qualified professionals in exercise and dietary tips, book a session and learn from the pro’s.

Have a fitness buddy

Training with a friend can make the sessions more interesting, whether you compete against each other in who can run the furthest or have someone to chat to in between sets, going with a friend will make you want to exercise more often.

Have fun

Exercising needs to be fun, if we do not enjoy it then it is more the likely we will give up. So have fun when you’re in the gym. Do things that you enjoy and ask for advice if you’re unsure on anything.

If you follow my steps when thinking about getting fitter and healthier in the New Year, I know I will be seeing you all the way through to the next one.

James Beldam

Spin Class

Matrix Spin Bike

Spinning Classes

Spinning has always been a popular class on the timetable, our instructors are all fully qualified and all design our own personalised classes to music to give the best possible experience we can; now that experience has become even better. We have just bought in the latest spin bikes produced by Matrix, not only can we now teach classes to music but also have the availability to see RPM, average RPM, distance covered and time of workout. Having this opens up a wider range of workouts which we can now do, ensuring that the entire class get full benefits and train as hard as they possibly can.

Spinning is a great way to burn calories and tone up fast; the harder you work, the more you get out of it, and with our new bikes the experience has improved exponentially, they provide a smoother ride, a variety of different grips and a more realistic feel for resistance then before. We have several spin classes on our current timetable from times as early as 7.00am – 17.45pm which gives all our members the chance to participate and get fit, if you’re interested then please do not hesitate to book at the health club reception and begin your journey today.

For details of our membership options please see our website:

James Beldam

Senior Fitness Instructor

New Matrix Gym Equipment

Donnington Valley Health Club

New resistance equipment

We are delighted to announce that we are getting some new fitness equipment for our gym; these involve heavier dumbbells going up to the weight of 32kgs and a power rack with weights up to 160kgs.

With this new kit it provides us with different variations of exercises that are much safer to deliver. We have listed a few of the key muscle toning and building exercises which you can try:

Power rack

Barbell Squat (Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings) – choose the weight and place onto the bar, set the safety bar to correct height (should be just below as low as you can squat) next come under the bar and rest it on the top of your back (trapezuis) bring your feet parallel with your shoulders with toes facing forward, bend at your hips and push back until your knees bend ensuring that your knees do not go over your toes, try to go as low as your range of motion will allow you to go then push through your heels back up to a standing position.

Barbell Chest Press (Chest, Triceps)– Choose the weight and place onto the bar, set the safety bar to correct height (should be at chest height, giving enough room to safely exit if failure of rep happens) ensure that your bench is at acquired height (flat, decline, incline) then position your body on the bench under the barbell, lift barbell with hands positioned in an overhand grip wider than shoulder width and ensure bar is in line with the chest, slowly bring bar towards chest, just before chest is met push the barbell back up to starting position.

Barbell Bent Over Row (Lats, Biceps) – Choose the weight and place onto the bar, in a standing position safely lift the bar from the floor until you are at full extension, ensure your hands are just over shoulder width apart in an overhand grip, from here bend at your hips until your knees slightly bend, ensure your chest is up and back is straight, arms should be at full extension and barbell should be just lower than your knees, from here pull through your elbows and bring the barbell towards your belly button feeling the squeeze on your upper back (latissimus dorsi) bring bar back down to starting position.

Barbell Reverse Lunge to Knee up (Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes) – Choose the weight you are going to use, place the safety bar at a level where you would complete a lunge and the bar could safely rest on it if failure to complete rep occurred (just below hip height) rest the barbell on the top of your back (traps) take a stride with one foot behind the body, bend your front knee ensuring your knee doesn’t go over your toes, keep your body in an upright position, chest up and chin up, lunge as low as your range of motion allows you to go, push through your front foot to allow you to come back into an upright position, once in this position follow your back leg forward and bring your knee up in front of your body squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement, return leg to starting position, repeat on other leg.


Having heavier dumbbells is very beneficial for those wanting to exert more tension onto a particular muscle. Exercises to use with heavier dumbbells could be:

Dumbbell Shrugs (traps) – Choose the set of dumbbells you intend to lift, position the dumbbells in your hands by the side of your body, keep arms at full length, bring your shoulders towards your ears in a shrugging motion, lower shoulders back down to starting position.

Dumbbell One Arm Row (Lats, Biceps) – Set your bench to flat, choose your dumbbell, place dumbbell next to the bench, if you are using your right arm to lift the weight place your left knee on the bench with your right leg acting as a support coming away from the bench, ensure your back is straight, chest is up and head is up, grip weight ensuring the weight is in a hammer grip position, then pull through your elbow keeping your elbow tight to the body bringing it all the way so your elbow is up to your back, lower weight and repeat on the other side, changing your knee and leg position.

Dumbbell Tricep Extensions (Triceps) – Choose your weight; hold dumbbells behind the head locked together with palms facing each other, extend at the elbows so that your dumbbells are above your head, lower the weight below your head by bending your elbows until dumbbells go as low as your range of motion will allow you to go, extend the weight back above the head to finish the rep, ensure to keep your elbows still and tight to your head.

For more information please speak to Health club reception on 01635 551188

Matrix is arriving

Matrix Gym Equipment

Matrix – Arriving 7th August

Matrix is our brand new range of cardio equipment at Donnington Valley Health Club & Spa.

Matrix has been producing premium fitness equipment since 1975 and is the fastest manufacturer of fitness equipment in the world. Superior industrial design, with a contemporary look, has been Matrix’s trademark since the beginning.

Matrix are used all over the world and have won such awards as vendor of the year, they are also the official supplier of fitness equipment to Lotus F1 Team and Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

Our Equipment

At Donnington we are very excited to have Matrix as our brand of fitness equipment, mainly due to the benefits and extras it gives us to our current equipment. Not only will you still be able to use your Fitlinxx ID and keep your current points but you also get a lot more, such as:

Virtual Active Workouts

These virtual workouts are in HD quality with ambient sounds from exotic destinations, plus incline and resistance changes to create a truly immense experience.


A rich entertainment experience is provided, including live TV, thousands of on demand music videos and personalized workout data.


From Wi-Fi and internet access to wireless receivers, you will now be able to link everything from social media sites to basic remote audio.

What are we getting?

  • 6 treadmills – all come with 19 inch HD screens, the absorption deck system provides less impact on your joint.
  • 2 Ellipticals – all come with 16 inch HD screens, the patented suspension design delivers a smooth motion free of wheels and tracks.
  • 2 Ascent trainers – these provide the user with the ability to choose their range of motion by either taking shorter or longer strides.
  • 3 upright bikes – fitted with 16 inch HD screen, it has race inspired handles, ergo form seats and easy to adjust seats for a more comfortable ride.
  • 1 Hybrid Cycle – comes with a ventilated ergo form seat with back support and easy to adjust seat for ultimate support and cushion.
  • 1 Climb mill – Acts just as a staircase that rotates round, only climb mill in the area, a very exciting product to have in our inventory.
  • 1 My Ride – your own personal experience, takes spinning to the next level, create your own spinning class set in a variety of exotic destinations.
  • 13 spin bikes –  with their indoor cycling computer that integrates individual feed back within the class, allowing users to measure their progress and their intensity.

Contact Donnington Valley Health Club for more details on 01635 551188 or email