Author: New Forest Health and Leisure

About New Forest Health and Leisure

For leisure, for fitness, for fun. Keeping you informed of all the latest news and offers. New Forest Health and Leisure. At New Forest Health and Leisure offer a wide range of fitness, sporting and wellbeing facilities, all you need to help you improve or maintain your own personal health and fitness. From fully equipped state of the art gyms, 25m swimming pools, over 40 different group fitness classes, to courts, courses, children's parties and personal training, we really do have it all!

Toby talks about life as a group fitness instructor

Toby has been a Spin instructor since 2001, he teaches 9 classes a week and you can find him at both Totton Health and Leisure and Applemore Health and Leisure. He also combines this with his full time job here in the offices at Appletree Court. Here he shares some insights in to the life of a group fitness instructor.  20597443_10154814041072816_2928524311771423673_n

Toby at the New Forest Show 2017

Why we love our jobs so much

  1. It feels great that you can have a really positive effect of someone’s day
  2. It’s a great feeling when you see or hear that participants have achieved great things in your classes and in some cases they have totally transformed their lives and become happier and healthier as a result
  3. When we receive great feedback it encourages us to give more back and to keep pushing the boundaries a little bit further.
  4. It’s great to share a class/ride that I’m passionate about with others. Hopefully that comes through within the classes.
  5. I get to listen and play music that inspires me, an inspired instructor will inspire their participants. I feel like a DJ.
  6. Teaching is a hobby that I’m fortunate enough to get paid for. But in all honesty instructors should love to teach and inspire. For me it’s not about the payslip.
  7. I try and take people to places that they were not expecting or didn’t expect to go within a class. When participants go to that deep and dark place and they are really working hard and you can see it you’ve totally got my respect. But I’m aware that for many it’s not about that and I’m totally cool with that.17098526_10154355600442816_4004056425227823121_n

Toby at the Stages indoor cycling award ceremony

What you may not know

Many people may just think that the instructor rocks up, pops in CD or set the iPod on shuffle and off we go, but it’s not that simple.

Each class has its very own playlist that has been painstakingly put together to fit the theme that is being delivered. Music is sourced and downloaded and then put together to create the class profile. This process is fairly involved; I’d say a new class from scratch could take up to 2 hours to create.

Those instructors who teach Les Mills spend an awful lot of time preparing for the new release. It takes hours and hours of revising and practicing the new choreography ready for the launch and they are doing this in their own time. It’s the passion and dedication of our Les Mills instructors that drive them to make sure your new releases are perfect come launch date. It’s hard enough remembering 1 release but many of our team have to learn 2 or 3 and that adds up to days of preparation. Teaching in spin in comparison is much easier.

Feedback is appreciated after a class whether it’s good or bad. The best feedback I ever received was pretty hard to take but it was the defining moment that I look back on that I believe made me a better instructor. If you come to a class and enjoyed it then just let the instructor know that. Without feedback we can’t improve. Even I quick thumbs up at the end of the session is enough.

I’ll try and be the first person to arrive in the studio and the last person to leave to ensure that new users can be set up correctly prior to the session commencing and I’ll always be on hand to answer questions after the session. Instructors only get paid for the 45 mins or the 55 mins that they are actually teaching.


At his limit directly after an functional threshold power test on a spin bike

Class etiquette

When the instructor commences the class please don’t carry on the conversation with the person next to you. It’s not the instructor who’ll be most annoyed but most likely the person next to you who’s trying to get into the zone. You wouldn’t go to the cinema or theatre and talk through the first act or scene.

As an instructor, when you’ve spent hours creating a new profile for then to see 40% of the class cancel a few hours before is quite frustrating. There is nothing better than teaching a full class that is packed with energy.

We may have had a bad day at work, we may not be feeling 100% within ourselves when we turn up to teach but very rarely do instructors bail out.  We will push on through as instructors have that inner belief that they don’t want to let people down.

We all know you have your favourite instructors but sometimes things happen and they can’t be there every week; of course we do also allow them the occasional holiday. If the cover instructor isn’t your favourite please don’t make it obvious. Don’t forget that they’ve probably given up an evening with the family to ensure that you still get a class.

Best moment in teaching

big spin

Staring in our Big Spin Facebook campaign 2016

My ultimate teaching highlight has to be the Big Spin 2016. It was simply awesome to see close to 250 people all spinning at the same time and knowing we were raising money that would make a huge difference to so many people was incredible. I am looking forward to the next one. It’s also those little moments when someone comes up to you at the end of the class and simply says thank you. That’s enough to keep me going till the next week.


Why May is such an important month

Toby White – Fitness manager comments on why May is the most crucial month to keep your eye on those fitness goals. 
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Bootcamp at Ringwood

January, February and March were amazing months class number wise and it was great to see so many of our users taking full advantage of all the classes we have available.

The ability to measure performance is the key to success and monitoring progress. Within my spin classes I’ve really started to notice that my regulars are making some great progression since the introduction of the upgraded spin bike consuls with the ability to monitor their power (wattage) and distance data and our customers are starting to see month by month improvements. I’ve also started to introduce my regulars to working within training blocks of time. So from January to April and then a shorter block of May through into June. May is a really important month fitness wise.

Think of all the progression you’ve made since January and now it’s important to maintain that progress over the next 2 months. We all know that during July & August there are often lots of other activities that get in the way of our own pursuit of staying fit and healthy such as school holidays, trips abroad and the garden becoming much more appealing than the dance studio on a warm summer evening. It’s inevitable that things will get in the way and yes we all need a well-deserved break at some point.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetBody pump at Lymington

So with this in mind May & June will see me start to challenge my participants a little more knowing that there will be a drop off looming. But if we can look to take those fitness levels a little higher over the next 2 months then even with a drop off over the summer period we’ll be still starting the next block of work in September in a relative position of strength. Meaning that the gains made over 2017 are maintained to a decent level.


The above chart shows fitness progression over the year. Allowing for a drop off during  July and August we’ll still be starting September from a better position than we did from the start of the year if we really keep pushing throughout May & June.

Good luck everyone, Toby 🙂 

Anxiety A-Z


Did you know that 10% of the UK population suffer with anxiety, putting it at the top, along with depression, as the most common mental illness? This means that everyone will come into contact with it at some point during their life and with the Christmas season underway the pressure seems to rise.

We are here you help you focus on the positives with our A-Z list of coping strategies. These are desgined to distract your brain from your worries making each day a little bit easier.

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Healthy Halloween!


It’s Monday 31st October, Halloween night. You arrive home after a long but successful evening trick or treating. After you’ve tucked your chocolate filled children into bed you hear a slight rustling coming from one of the bags of goodies. Suddenly, all intentions of your healthy diet start to flicker away into darkness…

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Beat the bounce


For gents investing in a good pair of trainers suitable for your feet and exercise forms the basis of any workout outfit. However, for the ladies not only are a good pair of trainers essential but you also need to take care on top. **WARNING** Gents if you’re still reading this – it’s going to get personal.

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