The drizzle didn't spoil the finale to our latest Couch to 5K course at Lydiard Park this weekend!  Spurred on at Swindon Parkrun by fantastic support from Team JB and their running leaders Becky and Kim, our novice runners did themselves proud, completing their first 5km run in style!



Other Run JB members put in some great performances despite the rain, with personal bests for Barbara Kirkup, Alison Wade and Amanda Kemp and magnificent first time Parkruns for Laura Shimell and June Lawrence!

Check out the full results from Saturday here and the Run JB results history.  If you aren't included in the Run JB list, don't forget to change your Parkrun registration to include Run JB as your club!


Huge congratulations to Sarah Mathis, Liza Cording, Joanne Parker, Sharon Northwood, Tracy Holt, Anne Bradley, Sonia Slimmon, Lauren Mann, Sarah Roberts, Emma Smith for graduating from Couch to 5K!  We look forward to welcoming you all to Run JB on Wednesday evenings!

In the meantime, have a read of our earlier blog post - "I've run my first 5K - what next?" and start planning your next challenge!

Inspired by our latest group's fantastic achievement? You too could go from Couch to 5K in just 8 weeks - join us for our next Run JB Couch to 5K course!

Keep on Running!



Mention a step fitness class and it usually conjures up images of aerobics-style choreographed routines introduced by Gin Miller in the Eighties. 

Luckily, with JBPT PowerStep, you don't need legwarmers OR dance-style coordination to enjoy the benefits of step exercise!  

We use simple step movements in all planes of motion designed to improve both cardiovascular health and muscular endurance. A great example of compound exercise, stepping focuses on the largest muscle groups in the body: the glutes in the bottom which extend and abduct the hip, and the quadriceps in the thighs which extend the knee as you step up.  This makes it perfect for toning both the bum and the thighs.  You have the choice to perform each step exercise using a height of either 15cm (for beginners), 20cm (intermediate) or 26cm (advanced), making it suitable for all fitness levels.  Low impact options are offered for each exercise for beginners or anyone returning from injury.



In JBPT PowerStep, the step is complemented by another deceptively simple piece of equipment - gliding discs.  These discs are designed to slide or "glide" across a hard floor surface with low friction when pushed or pulled under the hands or feet.  By elongating the muscular time under tension, they offer a highly effective method of core training. Gliding disc exercises such as "Froggy Circles" are becoming firm favourites amongst our class members!  Join us and stay one step ahead on your fitness mission this summer!




Running your first 5K gives an enormous sense of satisfaction.  Many of those who have completed our Couch to 5K beginners’ running course find it hard to believe that only a couple of months previously they were daunted by the prospect of even a couple of minutes continuous running!  So knowing you have completed over 3 miles running non-stop is a tremendously tangible achievement.  However, the period following the race can be crucial in determining whether or not running becomes a lifelong habit. 

Key Success Factors

After any big event, there is a risk of anti-climax once the initial euphoria has worn-off.  At this point it is vital to start planning how to maintain your running going forwards.  Consider the factors behind your success so far, which may include

  • A realistic goal with a fixed timescale
  • The camaraderie and support of running in a group/ with friends
  • An achievable but progressive training plan
  • Having a safe environment in which to run
  • Being organised e.g. having your kit ready the night before

According to the latest research, it actually takes longer than previously thought to form a habit.  On average, you have to keep a behaviour up for 66 days (nearly 10 weeks) for it to become automatic.  So make sure you keep as many of the contributing factors in place as possible to ensure ongoing success.

Changing the Variables

So what would be a suitable next running goal?  It doesn’t have to an increase in distance, although that is often what springs to mind.  There are several other ways to continue to challenge yourself, which involve changing at least one of the following variables: distance, speed, frequency, type.  Targeting a 10K as the most obvious example of an increase in distance, as such events are increasingly popular (see our Facebook page events for inspiration).  However, just as valid a target would be to stick to the 5K distance and simply aim to get faster.  With the Parkrun movement expanding throughout the country, there will always be the opportunity to test your progress over this distance.  For added motivation, use the level playing field of the Age Grade percentile results if you enjoy a competitive edge.  You could also aim to run more frequently – three days a week rather than two, for example.  If you are planning to exercise more than three times per week, I would always recommend additional cross-training (e.g. resistance training, swimming, Pilates or cycling) in preference to further running sessions.  In my experience this gives superior results in terms of both overall performance and injury prevention.  Lastly, there is tremendous scope to vary the type of running you do.  This is a relatively overlooked element to progressing as a runner.  Shorter, sharper sessions such as tempo runs and hill intervals require you to work at greater intensity and push the limits of your lactate threshold.  Over time this will improve your lung capacity and the ability to maintain a faster pace for longer.

So what are you waiting for?  Get planning your next challenge!  In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.”

Run JB Club membership offers structure, support and guidance to those who have recently started running (for example via our Couch to 5K course) to continue and develop their running. Our women-only training sessions are fun, safe and non-intimidating. For further information on how to join visit our Run JB Membership webpage.


A compound resistance exercise is a multi-joint movement which works several different muscle groups simultaneously.   Examples include the “daddy” of all bodyweight exercises – the squat – and the deadlift.  Unfortunately, a majority of gyms are full of equipment that is geared towards resistance exercises that isolate one or two joints to target specific muscle groups.  For example, in a leg extension machine, you sit down and move the knee joint alone using the quadriceps muscle group in isolation.  There are many negatives to this sort of exercise:

  1. You have probably been sat down  at work all day, then sat down in your car seat to drive to the gym.  You have been sat down all day – you need to MOVE MORE, not sit down again!
  2. The seated position reduces the need to stabilise the body using the core muscles, an area which most exercisers are keen to target.
  3. The fixed weight hides any imbalances in strength between your left and right sides, so it may exacerbate rather than correct such problems.

In contrast, compound exercises (using bodyweight alone or with free weights such as dumbbells or kettlebells) mimic real life functional movements, where all muscle groups are required to fire simultaneously.   A great example is the everyday activity of picking up shopping bags, which is basically a deadlift.  It certainly isn’t a hamstring curl!

This isn’t to say that fixed resistance machines don’t have their uses.  If you have a lower body injury, for example, they can be used to continue to strengthen the upper body during this time, without having to hobble back and forwards to the weight rack.  However, what may people tend to forget is that fixed resistance machines originally were designed and intended specifically as rehabilitation aids – not for general fitness!  Regrettably, their omnipresence in modern gyms persists as they require less staff supervision compared to free weights and other more functional equipment.  It certainly isn’t due to their effectiveness in helping the average gym-goer reach their goals!

So what is the alternative?  Ensuring that your resistance exercise is based around compound exercises brings many benefits:

  1. Burn far more body fat
  2. Strengthen the core
  3. Protect against injury in everyday life
  4. Shorter, more effective workouts

If you don’t have the equipment for deadlifts or kettlebell workouts, bodyweight exercises work just as well!  Squats, lunges, woodchops, planks and mountain climbers are great examples of effective compound movements that can be done anywhere with zero equipment!  If you prefer a group fitness environment, these exercises also feature in Metafit: Join the Fat-Burn Revolution, a 30 minutes bodyweight HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercise class. 

For full details and online bookings, visit our group exercise classes page.


Wow! It has been an amazing year for the JB Personal Training community! As it draws to a close, Jules and Shona would like to thank all our loyal customers for their fantastic support throughout 2013. Here's a reminder of some of your fantastic achievements over the last 12 months!



January:  2013 kicks-starts with the return of JBPT Ultrabox

2013 got off to an explosive start with the return of our hugely popular Ultrabox class! There is no better way to let off steam after a day in the office! Join the fun in 2014 with our growing range of both early morning and evening fitness classes in Swindon.



February:  First winter Couch to 5K group completes first 5K at Parkrun Swindon

Our first ever winter Couch to 5K group showed tremendous determination to complete their training, with the occasional aid of treadmills during a bitterly cold couple of months! Huge congratulations to Caroline McCartney, Judith Land, Sarah Holmes, Sarah Strickland, Nick Ruddle, Kathryn Ruddle, Sharon Perkins, Adele Perkins, Sarah Nichols for running their first 5K (over 3 miles) at Lydiard Park Parkrun! The spring saw a return to Lydiard Park for the April course, when we welcomed Yvonne Parker, Zoe Brown, Jane Weston, Gaynor Moreton, Hayley Cronin, Julie Giles, Bev Owen Bines, Dawn Chivers, all of whom nailed their first 5K this summer! Hot on their heels were the July group who enjoyed by far the sunniest evenings! Congratulations to Sharon Randle, Helen Chisholm, Michelle May, Louise Farrow, Amanda Kemp, Jane Calverley, Jacqui Robbins, Jessica Painter, Linda Simkins who stormed the August Parkrun! Our final group of the year back at Shaw Ridge showed enormous camaraderie in training leading to well-deserved 5K success at December's Parkrun for Yvonne McColl, Sarah Nunn, Joanne Cooke, Dave Wilson, Jenna Wilson, Marie Cargan, Adrian Roberts and Jenny Gill, with Helen Rankin and Kerry Barrass bouncing back from setbacks to prepare for their first 5Ks early in the New Year.  Massive congratulations to all our Couch to 5K runners in 2013 - we are really proud of you all! As the Run JB community continues to grow, we would be delighted to see as many of you as possible at our next group Parkrun on 1st March 2014 at Lydiard Park!



March:  JBPT launch Metafit classes

We were buzzing in March with the launch of our new high-intensity interval bodyweight training class, Metafit!  Only 30 mins long, Metafit classes boost your resting metabolism so you burn more calories at rest for up to 24 hours after your workout! If you haven't tried it yet, make 2014 the year you discover what you've been missing! Join the Fat-Burn Revolution!



April:  Kim and Sian run London Marathon

We were super excited in April as we headed to London to watch Kim and Sian tackle their first ever marathon.  Having only started running the previous August, we watched in awe as Kim stuck resolutely to her JBPT training plan, laughed in the face of black toenails and lost 3 stones on the way to the start line. A last minute charity place entry was bravely embraced by Sian, who showed tremendous determination despite late injury setbacks to make it to London. On a day to remember amidst a wonderful carnival atmosphere, Kim and Sian proved they have what it takes - becoming Team JB's first ever London Marathon medal winners. They also inspired Sam and Tony hardy to emulate their achievements by securing their entries for the 2014 race!



May:  "Lake is the new Cake"

Wild swimming in the warm weather and picturesque Cotswold Water Park setting proved a great draw over the summer months, inspiring the classic comment "lake is the new cake"!  It really is a fantastically therapeutic escape from the rat race! Wetsuits are optional in the warmest weather but advised to get the most out of your lake swimming membership, extending the season from around April to October.



June:  Cotswold Novice Triathlon

2013 saw Team JB embrace the UK's fastest growing sport - triathlon!  Clare Lindsay, Sian Rudge, Hayley Cronin and Sam Reed nailed their first ever triathlon in June, swimming 200m in open water, cycling a 20km circular route via Cirencester, and finally running the 2.5km around the Cotswold Country Park lake.  Alex Parker stepped up to nail the Super Sprint distance having completed the novice event the year before.  You did Team JB proud ladies!



July:  JBPT Summer Bootcamp 2013

What a contrast from last year - sunshine galore for our evening bootcamp!  We made the most of it, and many bootcamp newcomers rose to the challenge of crawling, resisted sprinting, crab walking, ViPR flipping, farmers walking and hurdling though an array off obstacles, finishing off the fun with wheelbarrow and sack races!  Some of you even found the energy to join in an extra "Hanging Tough" challenge afterwards!



August:  Wall Sit Fever spreads across Swindon!

JBPT's August Challenge really captured the imagination and got you wall-sitting all over Swindon (including as pictured in the Farrell School of Irish Dance!) Twitter went crazy with posts of personal bests with some really impressive times! However, in the end nobody could touch the amazing performance of Clare Farrell of over 4 mins!  If you missed out on our 2013 Challenges, full instructions on how to give them a go are available on our Challenge of the Month webpage!



September:  Cotswold Sprint Triathlon

Team JB were out in force at the end of season Cotswold Sprint Triathlon! Superb performances by the team, many of whom were stepping up a distance having never done a tri before 2013. Great job Hayley Cronin, Alex Parker, Sarah Archer, Sian Rudge, Kevin and Tracey!



October:  Bowood Duathlon

Having only started running back in July on our Couch to 5K course, Jane Calverley, Sharon Randle and Amanda Kemp were a bit late to join in the triathlon season. But that didn't stop them signing up for the Bowood Super Sprint Duathlon!  They did a brilliant job on a tough undulating 2.5km running course and 10km bike course on a beautiful October morning in the grounds of the stunning Bowood Estate. Congratulations ladies!



November:  Team JB conquers Monster Race Charlton Park

Obstacle races like Tough Mudder and Men's Health Survival of the Fittest are growing massively in popularity and Team JB jumped at the chance to get covered in mud on a cold November morning! The excitement was all too much for Alex, who, unable to wait for the first proper obstacle, jumped straight into the middle of the first decent puddle with both feet. The real obstacles included the icy "Monsters' Marsh", and "The Wall" where fantastic teamwork saw us hoicking each other up and flinging ourselves over the top, winning top marks for artistic impression on dismount!  As Team JB's first venture into the world of obstacle course events, Monster Race was an exhilarating opportunity to confront and conquer a new challenge!

December:  Our 2013 Biggest Loser is revealed!  Congratulations Amanda!



Back in Jan 2013, we had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Kemp. With a big weight loss goal, we started training in Amanda’s living room slow and steady - no matter what your size you can work out!.  As our sessions progressed we watched Amanda open her mind to change and to exercise. A breakthrough moment was Amanda turning up at our boxing class, she had worried about it all day! Losing weight builds confidence and reinforces that what you are doing IS working.  By the end of 2013, Amanda had so far lost a huge 4st 7lbs and has changed her life completely.  She attends classes, runs regularly and even competed in her first duathlon! As trainers I cannot tell you how proud it makes us feel to watch our clients embrace exercise and life.  Could you be JBPTs biggest loser of 2014?

Inspired by these remarkable achievements?  Why not make 2014 an unforgettable year by reaching your health and fitness goals.  Personal Training can help you get there, whether you want to emulate such feats or simply lose weight and improve your health.  Contact us today to learn more.

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