Why you need a Fitness Advent Calendar this Christmas!

Fitness Advent Calendar

Unlike a regular chocolate-filled advent calendar, the daily opening of a fitness advent calendar is a great way to keep fit this Christmas!

(Don’t be too disappointed at the lack of chocolate… there’s plenty of the sweet stuff around this December!)

So let’s take a look at what one is, the benefits, and an expert’s view on how to do one yourself.



What is a Fitness Advent Calendar?

Essentially, it works like a regular advent calendar in the sense that you ‘open a door’ each day. But instead of chocolate, you get a simple fitness challenge which you must carry out.

These challenge are simple, but build in intensity as the month goes on. By the 25th day of December you’ll be feeling fit and strong – truly earning your Christmas dinner!

How does it work? There are many ways to prepare one. But, for example, on Day 1, you would do a 60-second plank. Then on Day 2, you’d do two minutes of body-weight squats. Day 3 is three sets of push ups. And so on for 25 days, with each day getting a little tougher.

Or you may have something like:

  • 5 x jumping jacks
  • 5 x sit ups
  • 5 x press ups
  • 5 x squats

That’s on the first day, then six of each on the second, seven on the third… and so on.

What are the Benefits?

There are several benefits to a fitness advent calendar:

  • You’re keeping active through a dangerously calorific season!
  • Regular exercise helps keep your festive stress levels low
  • You’re taking some time out to do something for yourself in a very busy season
An Expert Opinion

Emma Atkinson from EmmaLouiseFitness (covering Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot) tells Fitness Swansea about the calendar she designed.

‘I find that a lot of people drop off from exercise in winter, so a fitness advent calendar is a great way to keep motivated as the nights start to draw in and the weather gets colder,’ Emma says.

‘If people can do something short and sharp it encourages them to do more – especially if they don’t have lots of time around Christmas.’

Emma added, ‘My workouts include a cardio move to get the heart-rate up, upper body, lower body and core strengthening. So although it’s short, everything gets covered.’

‘I chose the exercises that I use so that all abilities can have a go. My client base is quite varied and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel excluded. However, they are exercises that could be easily modified or made more advanced if you want an extra challenge.’

‘The calendar I’m doing this year is building up nicely to Christmas Eve, so that everyone giving it a go will have a good workout before all the festivities.’

Give it a Go!

While there are many out there, for beginners and general fitness enthusiasts take a look at Emma’s fitness advent calendar, or try creating your own!


For Fitness Swansea gym reviews, check out our dedicated gym reviews page.

Gym Review: Swansea University Gym, Swansea

Swansea University Gym

| Reviewed by Chris Carra | 

I have plenty of experience with the Swansea University gym as I am currently a member there – making me hugely qualified to write a review!

Despite the name, you don’t have to be associated with the university in any way (i.e. you don’t need to be a student to use it). It’s open to the public, and at a pretty competitive price.


The gym itself is actually quite small, compared to places like the LC and The Gym, but The Swansea University Gym is rarely rammed to the point that you have to wait for machines. So, in this case, small is sufficient.

That’s not to say it’s tiny – far from it. Cardio-wise you have a good selection of treadmills, rowing machines, bikes and cross-trainers. On the resistance side of the gym you have a decent area for free weights with enough utility benches to go around.

Then you a power lifter-friendly area with squat racks, Smith machines, benches, and a big range of barbells and plates. There’s also a smaller area featuring mats, kettlebells, TRX, step boxes, and pull-up bars.

For someone like myself – who’s interested in keeping fit using both cardio and weight training – the equipment on offer is more than ample.

Oddly, despite being a member, I can’t talk for the changing rooms as I’ve not actually used them. Unlike the more central gyms, I tend to just get out of the car, workout, then get back in the car to go home. However the general cleanliness of the gym (and other areas) is impeccable. Generally I can’t fault it. There’s always a cleaner milling around, and there’s plenty of signs of regular cleaning.


As fitness class offerings go, Swansea University gym is fantastic. I attend the Titan Conditioning sessions twice a week, while the centre also offers classes such as Les Mills BodyPump, Les Mills Grit, Spin, Zumba and Yoga. All included in the price of a membership.




Aside from saying hello on the way in, I rarely speak with the staff. However, they all seem nice enough and have a good rapport with some users. I don’t usually see them wandering the gym, but there is always one at the little reception area at the entrance to both the centre and the gym itself. I have seen them help some older gym users get to grips with the machines, so if you aren’t comfortable using a gym this is a good aspect.


You will find a big mix of gym users. I tend to go quite early in the mornings and it’s a mix of older folk (around 60 to 80 years old) and, naturally, younger guys and gals, mostly students at the uni. The older users all seem to chat quite a bit, while the younger seem to keep to themselves. Overall, a pleasant atmosphere.

Anything Else?

One thing I am a big fan of is the digital combination lockers, as you don’t need to remember a pound or worry about losing keys. You just enter a combination of your choice, confirm it, then it’s locked. Enter it again to unlock it. Simple.

It’s worth nothing that there’s also ample Pay and Display parking too. It works out at £1.50 for two hours (more than enough time to use the gym). Remember to get the ticket stamped and you can claim a pound of this back.


I can’t really fault the Swansea University gym. It’s a decent size, always clean, has a good selection of equipment and is rarely too busy. And cool lockers! For the price, it’s excellent for students and the general public alike.


Need more info on Swansea University gym? Check our their website!

Check out more reviews of gyms in Swansea – only on Fitness Swansea!

5 Welsh Half Marathons to run in 2018

5 Welsh Half Marathons to run in 2018

Whatever time of year, there’s nothing better than setting your sights on a fitness goal such as completing a few Welsh half marathons next year.

Although not as insane as a full marathon, half marathons are considerably more of an achievement than a 10K. In fact, they are an excellent middle-ground for runners of all abilities.

So, we at Fitness Swansea are highlighting five awesome Welsh half marathons to consider in 2018.

The Cardiff half - one of the most famous Welsh half marathons

1. Swansea Half Marathon

Let’s start with one very close to home – it’s the Swansea Half Marathon!

Compared to Cardiff (below) it’s much newer – established in 2014 – although it has since been voted the UK’s best half marathon (in 2017), with more than 6,000 runners taking part this year.

Like many in Wales, it’s another very picturesque half marathon. It starts in the city centre before heading down towards Mumbles, taking in the panoramic sights of Swansea Bay.

This is a summer race, with the 2018 Swansea Half Marathon taking place on Sunday, 24 June. Great weather not guaranteed!


2. Cardiff Half Marathon

Moving on to the capital city, the Cardiff Half Marathon was established in 2003 and since then has grown to become one of the largest half marathons in the whole of the UK.

A predominantly flat course, it’s great for first-time half marathon runners and elite runners alike. Another plus is it’s a very scenic route, taking in some historical landmarks such as Cardiff Castle, the Cardiff Bay waterfront, and Bute Park.

The Cardiff Half Marathon takes place quite late in the year, and 2018’s event is set for Sunday, 7 October 2018.


3. The Wales Half Marathon

Taking place in beautiful Tenby on Sunday, 15 July, the 2018 Wales Marathon – incorporating the Wales Half Marathon – is another awesome event and one of the best Welsh half marathons around.

The half-marathon runners will set off from Pembroke Castle at midday, and run the 13.1 mile closed-road route, ending in Tudor Square in Tenby. It’s quite a hilly course compared to offerings in city routes such as Cardiff and Swansea, but nothing like a good challenge!



4. Coastal Trail Series (Pembrokeshire)

The Coastal Trail Series incorporates a few different running events, all taking place on Saturday, 28 April in 2018. These include a 10K, a marathon, an ultra marathon, and – what we care about today – the 15.1 mile half marathon.

With multiple terrains (including grass, trail and beach), it’s a beautiful and challenging route. You’ll run by the cliffs and beaches of Britain’s only coastal National Park at Little Haven – a great view! As Welsh half marathons go, this is a must-try.


5. The Admiral City of Newport Half Marathon

Heading east, we arrive in Newport for the final half marathon on our 2018 list. And it’s a good one to finish with, as The Admiral City of Newport Half Marathon is an event with great atmosphere, good entertainment and a new scenic route that takes in lots of familiar sights.

In 2018, the 13.1 mile run will take place on Sunday, 4 March at 9am. Get training!