Promotional Feature

At the ready... five limbering up for fitness

City A.M. and London’s newest cutting edge fitness club LAX St Botolph’s has selected five City workers to join them on a fitness journey to get healthy over the next four months!

LAX St Botolph’s is the city’s largest dedicated fitness club where the latest fitness techniques and thinking are combined with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment and over 150 industry leading classes a week. LAX’s fresh approach to fitness centres around a passion to inform and educate its members on the finer points of exercise & nutrition. The club’s ground-breaking Learning Pod helps improve athletic performance by analysing body composition, helping members understand how to fuel and condition their body for maximum results. Each has had their own body analysis and a full induction to create a personalised programme designed to motivate and inspire them to achieve their health and fitness goals.

These range from losing weight, changing shape, toning up and building muscle, their motivations range from a fast-approaching wedding to a trip to Thailand next year! Zena, Robin, Selim, Eva and Andy will be guided by the specially trained LAX crew who will keep an eye on their programme, updating and refreshing it over the next few months to ensure it delivers the desired results. The group will also take part in the club’s unique small group training classes- LAX30TM and work on its dedicated functional training floor. Follow their progress and support them online at our dedicated site There you’ll find weekly updates on the group’s highs and lows, plus lots of new fitness tips from LAX fitness manager Jennifer George

LAX St. Botolph’s – the city’s largest dedicated fitness club – offers a five star fitness experience at only £69 a month. See for yourself at

LOCATED in the brand new St. Botolph’s building, just 1 minute walk from Aldgate and Aldgate East tubes and within easy reach of the Gherkin, Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street mainline at 141 Houndsditch, London EC3A 7DH

Jennifer George - Head of fitness


The largest dedicated functional floor in the City!

The Octagon Rig supports the functionality of true circuit training, allowing individuals up to small groups of 16 to work and achieve both cardiovascular and strength gains. With the proximity around the Octagon being close it helps to create a great atmosphere and to push you to new fitness heights. With the huge focus on group training this is a key piece of equipment that is fully inclusive for the all types of fitness and desired goals. On an individual or 1 to 1 basis it allows you to complete many exercises without having to scout around the gym floor but also inspires you to try new moves and work in a more compound and thus functional manor.

When training with the Octagon rig you can use other equipment not attached to add value to your workout or to add another station in small group situations. A great example is the Steelbag; it is filled with steel shot that moves as you move creating situations that forces your core strength to work and rebalance. The steel bag can be snatched, swung, tossed, slammed, wrestled and curled in order to strengthen the body in a dynamic and fun way.

The Steelbell tests the body differently to a kettlebell or Bulgarian bag as its content moves unexpectedly evoking an equal stabilisation and strength from your body. Sandbell are bigger bags that are less aggressive than Steelbells because the sand moves more slowly in a great surface area than the steel shot does. The Steelbells and Sandbells are functional, dynamic and one of the very few pieces of gym equipment that are intended to be thrown and slammed at the floor.

Jennifer George, head of fitness at LAX St Botolphs has these words of wisdom for January:

1. Wake up early

Start your day early- fresh and ready to take on the day! By getting plenty of healthy rest you enable your body to perform. Training early at times can be unavoidable depending on your timetable but the right training suited to your lifestyle will leave you feeling agile and alert.

2. Eat Breakfast

A healthy breakfast in the morning gives your body the fuel it needs to successfully perform both mentally and physically, plus it kick starts your digestive system, boosting your metabolism helping you burn more calories. An example of a good breakfast is porridge oats with raspberries and banana or scrambled eggs with avocado and tomatoes.

3. Stay energised!

Don't stop with breakfast. Stay energised throughout the day with small meals on a regular basis (every 2-3 hours) to help your body and mind function the way it should. A great pre-workout meal eaten at least one hour before training is 3 eggs with brown toast and avocado.

4. Try something new

Learn something your body is capable of doing but hasn't tried yet. Functional training is all about tailoring a programme towards your daily needs by training in different planes of movement. With functional training steadily growing in popularity, more people are reaping the rewards of this training technique.

5. Variety

Vary your workouts to keep them interesting. LAX20s and LAX30s workouts cover everything. In just half an hour you will burn calories, tone muscle, train in different planes of motion and test all of your motor skills, keeping you switched on and well balanced. And we always change it up every four weeks so your fitness levels don’t plateau.

6. Cardio, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, motor skills.

Combining the above 5 physical components in your workouts will keep you balanced and strong: cardio for overall fitness; muscular strength for developing your muscles, bones and joints; muscular endurance training for the ability to exercise for longer; stretching to help muscles return to their normal length; and testing your motor skills to improve physical and cognitive function.

7. Set goals

Give yourself an incentive to exercise by signing up to an event. Have you always fancied completing a 10k or charity bike ride? Training with a goal in mind will keep you motivated. Whatever your goal is, you then need to break it down into small, manageable targets and reward yourself every time you achieve one of them- but not with food!

8. Increase daily activity

Increasing your movements outside the gym will burn calories and keep you fit and mobile. Even a few minutes extra per day can make a difference- walk to the shops instead of catching the tube, cycle to work, or take the stairs instead of the lift. Make the most of the outdoors by inviting friends for a game of footy in the park or walking the dog- a dose of sunshine will leave you feeling refreshed!

9. Join a class

If the idea of getting on the treadmill has you running back under your duvet, try a group fitness class. They’re fun and great for socialising. You may have heard everyone talking about HIIT - we've got our LAX20 and LAX30 classes at St Botolph's which are high intensity, small group training sessions that give you a full body workout in under 30 mins. Alternatively try Yoga or Pilates for toning and reducing stress.

10. Get functional

Functional Training focuses on the "functions" of your body and aims to enhance strength and stability to improve its performance. Everyday motions such as turning, jumping, walking, lifting and bending are improved through the use of functional training. Usually performed on a mat in the gym with equipment including Swiss balls, Medicine balls, Bosu balls, Kettlebells, foam rollers and free weights, this training method is all about helping your muscles to work together, instead of in isolation, to perform everyday actions efficiently and without injury. Going to the gym doesn't have to be about body-building or athletic training, and functional training ensures several members work out simply to help them use their body in a healthier

For Jennifer's previous entries click here


Body Attack -

Boot Camp -

Bulgarian Bags -

Core LAX20 -

Kettle Bells -

Move It Play -

Move It Train -

Zumba -


Candidate 1

  • Name - Zena Gilbert
  • Age 24
  • Weight 67kg
  • Height 5'7"
  • Occupation HR Professional at Incisive Media
  • Lives London, E1
  • Reason I am going to Thailand in February so this will be a great opportunity to get ready for the beach!

Core Objectives:

To lose weight and tone up for a 2 week trip to Thailand in February.

My body fat percentage is slightly higher above average for my age, so I aim to lose 5% body fat.

Core exercises:

Previously, I did no exercise so a mixture of cardio to lose weight and tailored set of exercises that Rika has put together for me. I would really like to tone my upper arms and stomach, so there are a number of core exercises involved and the weights I use will increase weekly.


Being a part of the LAX Challenge has brought numerous benefits to my health and fitness. Whereas before I would exercise and eat the odd bit of fruit and veg because I felt I had to, having the support of my personal trainer Rika to help kick start a lifestyle change has been a huge step in the right direction.

Now, I have a different view on what foods to eat and about training, which will stay with me for years to come. One quote that springs to mind is “It’s not about dieting and exercising, it’s about eating healthily and training”. It has made such a noticeable difference too – not only friends and family noticing the weight loss (4kg in two months, and losing 4% body fat), but also healthier skin and hair, more energy, and being at my fittest. Basically, I can tackle 5 flights of stairs without dying now! (and more!) The fact that there are so many classes to choose from which take place at the most convenient times makes the whole process so easy to manage and fit into your daily routine.

Also no two classes are the same, so it really keeps you on your toes and you can look forward to a different work out each time. When you’re going to the gym four or five times a week, it makes such a difference! So overall, a big thank you to the LAX Team and City AM

Candidate 2

  • Name Eva Pnackova
  • Age 27
  • Weight 65kg
  • Height 5'7"
  • Occupation Social Worker
  • Lives London, E6
  • Reason I do love sport but I've been too lazy or too disorganised to do anything about my growing behind.


uff, looooong time!! And I’m still keeping my bottom active . I haven’t run away, nor I got to my old lazy habits... So proud of myself! I have never managed to run for 45 minutes before or to work out for 1,5 hours. And here I am today, the regular LAX visitor, enjoying my body getting sweat.

My new “discovery” is Body Pump - it literally pumps the body. With energy, muscles, with that joyful after workout feeling. Honestly, I was always scared of barbells, thinking it’s for those with muscles well equipped guys, who know what to do with it and how and, you know what I mean... But I enjoy it 100% even though it‘s all done using barbells and weights. YEY!!

I found using machines quite fun and motivating cause every time I can push a bit more and more. Of course that's thanks to my PT Amanda, because she showed me how to actually use them. Honestly? it used to be a "gym mystery" for me, too afraid to touch them thinking it's not for beginners...

Click here Eva's previous diary entries

Candidate 3

  • Name Selim Cavanagh
  • Age 42
  • Weight 92kg
  • Height 6'0"
  • Occupation Commercial Director, Experian PLC
  • Lives London, SW2
  • Reason My Wedding! I am a typical on/off wannabe fit male... But now I have a wedding planned I have a definite focus

Core Objectives:

To reduce my body fat levels / overall weight by 10KG and to improve muscle definition. I need to strengthen my back muscles and body “core”. Also a focus on the legs for the ski season!

Core Exercises:

An all-round programme developed by the amusingly named Gary Definition. Gary has built a series of exercises that are designed to be easily increased over time as I improve with plenty of variety to keep me interested.


I’ve upped my gym sessions and intensity with only slight disruption due to the ski season! I’ve always been told that eating carbs whilst on the mountain doesn’t count due to the sheer intensity of the cardio.. but just in case I am now going to LAX 3 or 4 times a week.

  • Kettlebells
  • Group Cycle
  • Move it Train
  • Move it Play

I can definitely see an improvement in fitness and an inch of the waist is always welcome…my new trainer Francisco is a harsh task master and is very focussed on my objectives.. I start with him at LAX on Wednesday 26th February. My next report will be full of new, more difficult exercises I’m sure.

Click here Selim's previous diary entries

Candidate 4

  • Name Robin Hawkes
  • Age 30
  • Weight 83kg
  • Height 6'3"
  • Occupation Occupation Analyst at Mercer
  • Lives Blackheath
  • Reason To get bigger and then get really, really ripped and toned for my holiday next year

Core Objectives:

To put on mass while reducing body fat levels and to get some real definition all over, particularly in my abs as they’ve been hiding for a while.

Core exercises:

Previously, I only really focused on upper body free weight exercises, so keen to introduce cardio and to focus more on core strength exercises as agreed with Josiah.


w/C 27th Jan

Rather than booking into a mix of different classes again this week a PT suggested isolating the various muscle groups to build up and strengthen the muscle groups. I started the week on Monday morning focusing on my legs: 4-5 sets on the leg press, followed by 3 fairly light sets on the hamstring curl, followed by 2 warm up sets of 20 and then 2 sets until near failure using leg extensions. To finish I did 4 sets of squats finishing on 8 reps of 80kgs.

Tuesday was chest and tricep day – flat dumbbell press 2 sets of warm up sets of 15 followed by 3 sets to failure starting on 22kgs up to 34kgs, then using the smith machine to provide an incline bench press up to 50kgs for 9 reps. Incline flys followed - 2 sets to failure followed by straight arm pullover, then using the rope extension to work the triceps.

Wednesday was back day, started with closed and wide lat pull down exercises , I managed 5 sets starting with 15 reps going down to 6 closed grip and then 4 using the wide grip.

Thursday I did a class – Move it Train with a friend who was trying it out the gym. He was really impressed with the class and the facilities but found the class very tough and he considered himself in good shape prior to the class.

Friday I did some abs work, more leg work -lunges, squats and deadlifts by the end of it my body was definitely in need of a few days to recover!

W/C 3rd Feb

The week before my holiday, again this week I started with leg exercises using the leg press, hamstring curl which is finally becoming more manageable and then closed again on leg extensions.

Tues 4th chest today starting with flat dumbbell press and then using an incline and decline position on the bench. Managed slightly heavier dumbbells in each of the exercises which was pleasing.

Weds 5th back, behind the neck barbell press freestanding and then using the Smith machine. I went back on the trusted lat pull down machine for closed and wide grip sets. I then used the seated row machine to isolate my central back and lats, fairly light sets but very controlled. I finished the back exercises with bent over rows using dumbbells.

Thursday 6th – my last workout before my travels, I did a Move it Train class and then finished on some core and ab exercises.

That was me on my holidays until 26th Feb…while I was away I used a gym in Bangkok and a friend in Perth took me for a free PT session in Perth, with a nearly qualified Pilates coach, which was more challenging than I expected and a good experience.

In Hong Kong I made the most of the small gym at the hotel using the cross trainer for 20 minutes and then the treadmill followed by use of the weight machines.

Having returned with a sinus infection I’m taking antibiotics but am keen to get back into it during asap ideally w/c 3rd March.

The primary goal of this fitness journey was to get shape in time for my holiday, I definitely achieved that. I met up with old university friends in Hong Kong that I hadn’t seen for 11 years and they could believe how much weight I’ve lost since they last saw me, which was great to hear.

My aim now is to continue the progress throughout the course of the next 8 months and build on the progress to date. The only problem as previously mentioned is that a lot of my clothes are too big for me now!

Click here Robin's previous diary entries

Candidate 5

  • Name Andy Hargreaves
  • Age 38
  • Weight 100kg
  • Height 6'1"
  • Occupation Advertising Executive
  • Lives London E1
  • Reason I want to lose weight (1 stone) and tone up


w/c 2nd of December

I’ve now got my weights programme through from Steve the instructor. Below is what it looks like. Whilst I’ve done a bit of cardio work before I’ve never really got in to the weights, but I understand that I need to in order to change body shape and burn fat. I find the leg press activity ok as I do a fair amount of running, but I realise that my upper body strength is poor. I’m fine on the first couple of sets but find that I need to reduce the weights a bit in order to complete the third set! Post workouts I find it difficult to raise my arms above my head. The next day I ache, but in that good way that you know you must be doing something right if your body feels like this!


Chest Press




0-60 Secs



Low Row




0-60 Secs



Leg Press




0-60 Secs



Shoulder Press




0-60 Secs



Lat Pull Down




0-60 Secs



Leg Press




0-60 Secs


w/c 9th December

I only get to the Gym twice this week. I always knew that December would be difficult, and this is the first week where client pressure, (and boozy nights out have got in the way of things) on Saturday I run to the Gym, (1.8 miles on map my run) do a work out, then run back. It’s a decent effort, but I realise that I am punishing myself for the week’s excesses. I need to try and be more consistent, and feed my body with better fuel if I am going to get anywhere!

w/c 16th December

December doesn’t get any easier! Just two visits again this week. I have spent a couple of days in bed with Man flu and also had some holiday away from London. I console myself that two visits are better than nothing. I’m finding my chest press and low rows easier (I can now do my full reps without needing to take the weights down…progress is a nice feeling no matter how small. I’m struggling though with the shoulder press. I am lifting 15kgs which for a man of six foot one weighing in at 100kgs is a pitiful show of strength! I think it might be that I get on to this exercise after having done my other upper body routine, or maybe I just have very weak shoulders!!

w/c 23th December

I’m away from London over Christmas so make sure that I get to the Gym on the 23rd and then again on the 27th as these are the only days that I’m around. I also manage to get out for a couple of runs back at the family house in Essex which make me feel better and might I think help negate the 4000 calories a day one seems to eat over the Christmas period.

Reflecting on the first four or five weeks, I think I’ve done ok. I knew when I went in to this that December was going to be a tough month to start a new exercise regime in, and deep down had always targeted January as when the big changes and big improvements need to happen. As of January the 2nd I’ll be accompany my stepped up training regime with a healthy/low fat diet which I hope will lead to some serious pound shedding.

Happy Christmas and New Year


Click here Andy's previous diary entries