It only takes seven minutes ... to get fit
A PERSONAL trainer from Derby has set up a business for people who want to lose the festive flab but do not like going to the gym.
Fred Larcombe has launched Seven Minute Workout Gym, which is aimed at people who want to improve their fitness without setting foot in a traditional gym or spending hours pounding on a running machine.
Mr Larcombe uses the Bodylastics system, which incorporates a series of elasticated bands to encourage resistant training, effectively just the same as using weights.
He said that they clipped onto a series of straps which attached to a door and allowed the user to work muscles all over their body.
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All clients who sign up take home a set of the bands, which are growing in popularity after they were invented in America.
Each band represents a different equivalent weight and, by using them at home for just seven minutes a day, Mr Larcombe claims that, with the right guidance, it is possible to increase fitness.
Mr Larcombe also takes training sessions on more traditional equipment in his gym, in London Road, Alvaston, where he also has a state-of-the-art rowing machine and exercise bike.
Mr Larcombe is a former Rolls-Royce worker who switched careers to become a gym instructor in 1988.
Over the years, he has seen the health and fitness industry grow, with gyms being transformed from small rooms into vast leisure centres with swimming pools, tennis courts and dozens of running machines.
Today, the UK's health and fitness industry is worth £3.86 billion a year and 12% of the population are registered with some form of health club or fitness facility.
But Mr Larcombe believes that the majority of them will never achieve consistent results because the industry is not geared up to offer what they need.
He said: "The gym industry is broken. The vast majority of people who sign up don't stay for longer than a few months and relatively few achieve what they set out to.
"In any other industry, that drop-out rate would be a disaster. Of course, with the fitness industry, the blame is always placed on the shoulders of the people who drop out, not those who should be doing more to help them stick at exercise."
The problem, according to Mr Larcombe, is that, while gym membership is relatively cheap, it is expensive to access the one-to-one training that is required to keep most people going.
He said: "People who are left to their own devices on equipment are bound to become de-motivated. Either they will get bored doing the same things or their effort levels will, without outside help, reduce over time.
"As a consequence, they will not hit the fitness or weight loss targets they have set themselves and will lose motivation and leave."
One-to-one work with Mr Larcombe comes as part of the package and he says the Seven Minute Workout, which he has imported from Canada, offers a short, varied routine that is over before it gets boring.
He said: "Getting fit is about changing your lifestyle and that is very hard to do on your own.
"You need constant support and advice about exercise and nutrition, which is why it is almost pointless joining a gym if you are not going to have the services of a fitness instructor.
"There are a growing number of fitness instructors but none of them use the Seven Minute system. It's key to what I want to do because it allows people who don't even like exercise to achieve results by doing exercise little and often, without leaving their house.
"By following the instructions and training just two parts of the body at a time, they can get fit."
Mr Larcombe is set to launch his own website - www.7minuteworkoutgym.com - and will eventually fill it with instructional videos to keep people interested in their resistance bands work.