Hogarth Club introduces new fitness programme

Guest blog by Vojin Soskic

The New Year is here. Predictably it is back with a bang and not just if you saw some fireworks. On the crest of that wave, we can exclusively reveal a brand new product at The Hogarth.

We introduce to you… The Hogarth Octagon Health and Fitness tests!

January is a popular time in gyms but we know there is danger of not maintaining the momentum in the coming months. One of the ways to stick to it is to set goals which are specific and measurable. These can then be reset as you reach one to target another. The Octagon tests will be a great way of achieving long term success.

Whether you are a beginner or a more seasoned exerciser everyone will have areas for improvement and the Octagon measures 8 categories in Health and 8 in Fitness, which will give you a starting point from which you can aim to improve and retest down the line.

Photographs above: Octagon Health testing

The Hogarth Octagon Health test will screen for 8 cardiovascular disease risk factors: age, family history, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, blood pressure, body mass index, diabetes and cholesterol. Whilst risk factors like age or family history cannot be affected the other six can be tackled proactively. Whether you need to lower your blood pressure or increase your activity levels we will help you do that. Even if you are not at risk from any of these, don’t wait until you are and keeping fit will combat them ahead of time. Think of it as a health M.O.T.

We can get through it all in less than 20 minutes and you will be much better informed about your health status. It might feel like being back at school as you will be graded from A-E at the end.

Photographs above: Octagon Fitness testing

As for The Hogarth Octagon Fitness tests, do not worry it is not an entry exam for the army! In half an hour it will look at strength and cardio as part of it, but it will also look at the quality of your movement. We will assess control, flexibility and mobility. The 8 tests will each determine a score out of 5. The range of motion of your muscles will directly impact what you can or cannot do in exercise and everyday life.

For this we will check ankle, posterior hip, anterior hip and upper body mobility. An overhead squat will be assessed for depth of movement and control. Single leg stability will test both sides individually as the ankle, knee and hip joints work in unison during the exercise. Your core strength will be scrutinised with an abdominal curl test. You will finish with a 3-minute Watt Bike test from which we can measure your aerobic capacity.

The variety of these tests will paint a comprehensive picture of your fitness and you will get an overall score from 1-5 alongside the individual categories. This should give you the impetus to work on areas of improvement and consolidate your strengths.

You can book in for either the Health or the Fitness Octagon. Or you can do both in under an hour.

The new decade has begun and at The Hogarth we are always looking at evolving in our quest to help people improve in their aspirations. We feel The Octagon will be able to enhance a clearer vision for everyone’s goals in 2020!

Hope to see you at the gym desk soon.

Vojin Soskic runs the gym at the Hogarth Club

The Hogarth Club sponsors The Chiswick Calendar and offers Club Card members an exclusive membership deal.



Getting back to fitness after childbirth

Guest blog by Cat Baxendale

I always dreamed of becoming a mother, but when the dream became reality, it certainly didn’t come easily. Monty’s grand entrance was 12 days late and at the end of a labour which stretched beyond 48 hours. With one dramatic, final big push and a pair of forceps, I found a strength I didn’t know I had and, having narrowly avoided a trip to theatre, I was holding my crying, healthy little bundle of joy.

As I lay there gazing in awe at the little miracle in my arms, little did I know of the brutal aftermath that would follow such a protracted and traumatic birth. I have been a personal trainer at the Hogarth for eight years and have specialised in pre and post-natal for nearly six. I had an idea of what was ahead of me on the journey to recovery and the safest ways to feel strong again, but what I learned through my own experience is that every single one of us is different and we all have a different story.

I was fit and strong and exercised throughout pregnancy, and I believe that gave me the strength and stamina to deliver Monty, yet my body took a very long time to recover. We all have a different birth experience, a different fourth trimester. When GPs give us a six week check up to confirm we are safe to exercise, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed if you don’t feel up to it physically or mentally. Our story needs to be considered. For me it took months.

My first step back into The Hogarth to exercise, I felt like a shell of the person I used to be. I feared people could see through my exterior exposing the weakness I felt. I lost all my strength. My core was none existent. When I coached other mums in the same position I would say “be patient, be kind to yourself, you have just created a human being! You pushed it out and now you’re keeping it alive. To top it off you’re dealing with a bucket load of hormones!” But I was much harder on myself. I was afraid that my body wouldn’t be able to do it again.

Yet I was greeted with such warmth, smiles and kindness. I felt a real sense of community which was such a beautiful reminder because at times, parenthood can feel incredibly isolating and lonely. Exercise has always been one of the key components of my week. Since having Monty it has given me that little bit of “me time” and helped me feel stronger and more energised to tackle a day of feeding, crying, winding and nappy changing! It is key to listen to your body, to not push your body before its ready. It takes nine months to make a baby it can take just as long to recover.

Photographs above: Cat’s fitness class and Cat with baby Monty

I began with gentle core-related exercises, staying clear of anything high impact. The cross trainer made me feel good and the bike helped gently raise my heart rate, which then brought that burst of natural endorphins. It was eight months before I felt ready to run again. When the time came to go back to work, finding child care that I trusted and felt comfortable with was the first anxiety-inducing task. Then there was the feeling of guilt for leaving my child. But I also felt excitement about having adult conversations again! I still feel waves of guilt for leaving Monty but now, as I wave goodbye to him he skips on in to see his child minder. Knowing he’s happy allows me to relax at work.

It took a few months to adjust to being back at work. I would feel an urge to check my phone a lot, and there were days when Monty waved me off with a smile and I would be crying inside. But this is parenthood for you. What is important is balance. I take so much joy from working in such a positive environment. I get to meet interesting people daily and help with their exercise needs. I get to talk to adults, finish a hot cup of tea on my lunch break and I also get a little me time. I always treasured the time I had with Monty but it has made me appreciate it so much more. My confidence has grown as each month has passed. I now enjoy teaching HIIT classes weekly, training my clients and teaching a mums’ class on the green. It’s a class for mums to exercise safely, with their child if need be, helping them to feel stronger and connect with other mums, knowing we are all in this together.

Cat is a Personal Trainer at The Hogarth. Follow Cat on Instagram @mummyfit_pt. Her mums’ fitness class on Acton Green Common every Monday at 10:15-11am for £10.

The Hogarth Club sponsors The Chiswick Calendar

How to set goals for a healthier lifestyle

Guest blog by Vojin Soskic

As a personal trainer and gym manager at The Hogarth I have seen a wide variety of people in our club. The one thing they all have in common is they will need to commit regularly to exercise if they are to succeed in leading a healthier life.

The irony is this blog should have been done a few weeks ago but like all those would be exercisers this would be writer got distracted away from the goal, so I know the feeling!

Get moving

The most important thing is to get moving and aim to do more today than you did yesterday.
Do not put it off just get something, anything, done. Even walking an extra 10 minutes is a great start and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve once you get going and will feel better for having done so.

Why a trainer can help

Members of the Hogarth can have an hour’s help each month from one of our trainers as part of their membership to help stay motivated and make sure they are using the gym equipment effectively. All of our trainers at The Hogarth have diverse and unique backgrounds but we all want to help you improve.
The key is not for you to train like us, we are all different. It is vital that your trainer understands what suits you best. Some of our clients need more carrot and others more stick. The number one quality of a good trainer is empathy and understanding the individual before them.

Set Goals

So what is the most common training goal? Of course, it is weight loss.
Is there a quick fix? No. Long term success will be formed by better habits in the short and medium term. Exercise will play a crucial part but without good nutrition it is like trying to run with a parachute.

Many of you will know the answers and can figure out what you should eat or drink. In some cases it is increasing intake (e.g. vegetables) and other times decreasing (e.g. alcohol). Once you have established that, talk about the barriers that can get in the way and come up with strategies to overcome them.

Make a Plan

Ultimately you will need a plan. Commit to this and you will get results. A trainer can be there to overlook it and support you along the way. The trainer’s power predominately lies in session.
Being there. First and foremost. Never underestimate the power of having booked a session. You are far more likely to come in and train if there is someone else waiting for you. Once there the expertise and motivation should shine through but that commitment is key.

Take Ownership of your success

Then we can make sure you enjoy your training too. Some of you reading will be sceptical but it should be fun to train. If it is something you will do for a long time, figuring out how you will enjoy it is imperative for us.

Our biggest weakness as trainers is we cannot control what you do away from our sessions. This is where you have to take ownership of your diet. We will help, we will advise, we will support but the ball is in your court to execute it.

Get ready, get set, and go!

Here is a task you can start today. Over the next week write down everything you consume. Not only will it be a question of what you eat but when you eat and why you eat. Once you’ve answered the what, when and why you can come up with better strategies to make a difference with a balanced and healthy diet.

Now that I have finally finished this blog I am really glad I started it. Progress is power!
Come and check us out at The Hogarth Club and we’ll help get you started towards a healthier lifestyle. www.thehogarth.co.uk

Vojin Soskic is the Health and Fitness Manager at The Hogarth Club