Just Keep Swimming with Everyone Active

I’ve pretty much been able to swim since I could walk…ok, maybe a slight exaggeration…but I cannot remember a time in my life where I haven’t been able to swim. I was taken to regular swimming lessons as a child, and in addition to dancing, kept it up until I was a teenager. I even got my Life Saver award. I stopped for a while when dancing took over, but went back to my local pool for general lane swimming when I was 17. Once I moved to London, I didn’t swim for the longest time, as there wasn’t a decent pool close enough to me, and my uni budget didn’t stretch to an expensive gym chain.

When I moved to my current flat nearly 7 years ago, I started swimming again, partly for injury recovery, but also for a way to improve my cardio vascular strength. Although my swimming has been intermittent recently, it’s always the first thing I turn to post-injury, or for some non-impact cardio. Just recently I was offered a trail membership at Everyone Active, one of the UK’s leading Sport and Leisure Management company, and thought it a perfect chance to get back to swimming regularly again. I chose Marshall Street Leisure Centre off Carnaby Street as, in addition to a 30m pool, it has a fully equipped gym and son facilities as well, but more about those in another post.

everyone active, swimming,leisure centre

Credit: Everyone Active

So why is swimming so good for you?

  • It’s low impact – with your body weight supported by the water, it’s great for people who cannot do high impact work, be it for a chronic condition or a short term injury.
  • It’s great for cardio-vascular health – swimming raises the heart rate, improving the condition of the heart muscle and function of the lungs. Take it to a steady front crawl with little or no rest between lengths and you’re working on improving your endurance capabilities.
  • It works the whole body – even the most gentle of front crawls works your leg, arm, abdominal and back muscles.


What I hear most from people who can swim, but don’t add it to their fitness regime, is that it’s boring..and you’re right, it can be! I make my swims more interesting by changing up my strokes, and even having little competitions with myself.

What I’ll do in a typical 45 minute swim is:

  • 200 – 240m gentle front crawl warm up
  • 200 – 240m alternating front crawl & breast stroke
  • 100 – 120m legs only (using hand float)
  • 100 – 120m arms only (using a pull buoy)
  • Speed intervals trying to beat own time up to 250m
  • 250m – 300m alternating front crawl & breast stroke cool down

So in total it’s around 1,000m (1st distance in a 25m pool, 2nd distance in a 30m pool) and keeps things interesting!

I’ve really enjoyed swimming at Marshall Street Leisure Centre, it’s a 30m pool, as although there’s just 5m extra per length than what I’m used to, it makes a difference when counting laps. Mind you, on top of thinking about my strokes and technique, I then have to workout my 30 times table, and maths is not my strong point.

everyone active, swimming,leisure centre

Credit: Everyone Active

Leisure Centres used to get a bad name in terms of facilities and cleanliness, but it’s definitely not the case with Everyone Active. The pool and changing rooms are clean, with a separate wet changing room for the pool, and a dry changing room for the gym users. There are plenty of lockers, individual showers and changing spaces, plus GHD hairdryers for those of us who cannot let our post-swimming hair go au natural.

So get swimming and reap the benefits! With Everyone Active you can choose a swim only membership option which is a more affordable option on top of their already competitive prices. For more information, head to their website.

everyone active, swimming,leisure centre

Credit: Everyone Active

Review | Speedo

As I’ve gone through injury, and subsequent surgery recovery, swimming has always been my saviour. How else can you work almost all of your muscles, and cardio-vascular system, without any impact on the joints?! I am quite picky about my swimsuits as I swim lengths of varying speeds, and I don’t want to feel like I’m constantly needing to check where my swimsuit is!

speedo, swimming, fitness

I’ve always been a fan of Speedo and recently tried one of their new swimsuits and a pair of goggles. I’ve only used Arena goggles in the past, so was interested to see how the Speedo ones fared. Again, as I swim mainly front crawl, water in the eyes mid-length is never good!

Whilst perhaps not always the most fashion forward, Speedo swimsuits are always highly technical in their design, and the most recent I tried is no different. With a neck high enough to keep everything safe and secure, but not so high it feels suffocating, it’s comfortable and supportive, especially with the shelf bra lining. I won’t name names, but one particular brand I’ve tried in the past almost resulted in embarrassment as the front gaped and flapped around as I swam!!!

swimming, speedo, fitness

With a nice racer back to allow full, unrestricted movement of the arms, and a mid-rise on the leg, it’s as flattering as a functional, sporty one-piece can be. One thing I will note about the Speedo range is that I usually need a size above what I’d normally take. I think this is because I’m on the tall side and have a bizarrely long body! But always best to try a range of sizes and styles if you can.

swimming, speedo, fitness

Now, as I mentioned, I’m quite fussy about my swimwear, and especially goggles. I wouldn’t ordinarily choose anything other than dark tinted goggles, so felt a bit self-conscious that everyone could see my googly eyes with the blue tint! However, they’re great if you prefer a brighter view when swimming. They didn’t get any water in, and are adjustable around the head for a perfect fit…what more could you ask from a pair of goggles?

swimming, speedo, fitness

Thanks to Alina for providing me with some nice new swimming kit, because I’m a creature of habit, I have been wearing the same two age-old swimsuits for rather a long time. I definitely needed a swimwear update!

Workout Wednesday – SynchroFitness

So just before my holiday you might have seen this rather amusing photo on my instagram and twitter feeds….synchrofitness, synchronised swimming, fitness

…..and now’s the time to explain all about it for this week’s Workout Wednesday post!

synchrofitness, synchronised swimming, fitness

Did you ever splash around in a swimming pool as a child, nearly drowning yourself pretending to be a synchronised swimmer? No? Just me then. Well a couple of weeks ago, a chance following on twitter lead me not only to discover a fantastic new workout, but to be one of the first people to take part in the training to be a SynchroFitness instructor!

What’s It All About?

Founded by an ex-dancer and a competitive synchronised swimmer, SynchroFitness is a fun, social and energising workout based around the techniques of synchronised swimming. Aimed at those who are bored of swimming endless lengths in the pool, SynchroFitness is a low impact, deep end workout that combines cardio and strength building exercises.

synchrofitness, synchronised swimming, fitness

Now, the ladies of SynchroFitness are dreaming big, really big. With just a few classes currently being held in Brighton, they are in the process of getting SynchroFitness accredited by SkillsActive and are prepared to roll it out across the UK and beyond! Think Zumba, but bigger!

What To Expect.

Classes start with a warm-up holding on to the side of the pool in order to lift the heart rate and get the muscles stretched and supple. Next are some basic synchro techniques performed in the deep end and finally there’s the routine. Stretched over a month, each synchro routine is broken down into moves and positions, taught separately and then joined together in formation to create a simple, yet fun group routine.

synchrofitness, cynchronised swimming, fitness

Think you’d have no chance of getting the moves? Think again.

I went to the training as a good swimmer but with absolutely ZERO synchronised swimming experience and I loved it. The individual movements are simple and there are options if you don’t feel confident enough to go fully underwater or flip or roll.

So keep up-to-date on the SynchroFitness team on twitter or their website, and maybe one day soon you’ll be able to try it yourself, in London, with yours truly!!