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.

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!


10 Perfect Fitness Gifts for Christmas!

10 Perfect Fitness Gifts for Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve decided to round up some of 2017’s hottest health and fitness gifts.

So if you’re looking for something that’ll actually be appreciated by your gym/running/fitness-crazy loved one with this Christmas (or even yourself…), you’ve come to the right place!

Here are five of our favourites, spanning a few different price categories:

The HIIT Interval Workout Game


The Hiit Game


This is undoubtedly one of our favourite fitness gifts of 2017! Designed by scientist and military fitness expert Sergeant Volkin, this is a High Intensity Interval Training game which gives you a different workout every time.

Workouts last for between four and twenty minutes, and are bodyweight only, with video instructions. Just shuffle the cards and quickly create a workout that you can do alone or with friends and family (although it’s probably best not to ask granny to join in on Christmas Day…).


Natural Hero Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz (Perfect Stocking Filler)


Natural Hero Peppermint Spray


Forget Deep Freeze – this cooling peppermint muscle spray is a gym bag essential!

The bottle contains 100ml of muscle cooling spray, made of 99% natural ingredients. It’s formulated with no parabens, no SLS, no petrochemicals, and is tested on humans instead of animals.

But as well as being ethical, it works! It takes a little time to get going, but when it does it helps to ease tension both pre and post exercise, delivering a pleasant cooling sensation that then warms the muscle. A great stocking filler.


TaoTronics Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones

TaoTronics Headphones - one of our favourite fitness gifts this Christmas

Wireless headphones are an essential piece of kit these days, as they allow you to pair with a phone or smartwatch via Bluetooth – meaning no tangles, or wires to get caught on tree branches as you run…

You could spend hundreds on a set of wireless headphones, but why bother when you can get this excellent pair from TaoTronics, which come in a range of colours.

For under £20 you’re getting a snug and comfortable pair, that don’t slip out when running or lifting. They are also noise-cancelling, which is perfect for a loud gym. Built-in magnets allow you to wear the headphones around your neck like a necklace when not in use, which is a handy feature.


Workout Journal



There are cheaper workout journals out there – heck, you could use a scrap of paper in all honesty. However, this journal is a classier way for your loved one to record their workouts, chart progress, and keep reaching their goals.

With 194 pages and a convenient cover band, the journal includes daily pages for recording cardio activity, strength training, flexibility, classes, and vitamins/supplements taken. Going to the gym every day? There’s about three months worth of room in here, although those who work out less often will see it last up to a year.


Burmont’s ‘The Gym Box’ – Fitness Hamper

Burmont's Gym Box - One of our favourite fitness gifts


Don’t know what to buy? Don’t know what they like? This is a great box of protein treats for any fitness lover, and one that caters to all tastes.

For an affordable price, the box contains a 700ml LA Muscle Protein Shaker, a trio of protein bars and three MyProtein Impact Whey Protein satchets, stuffed inside a quality gift box. What’s more, free gift wrapping is available – meaning no need to fuss around with scissors, tape and paper. Sorted.


The Fitness Mindset (Brian Keane, 2017)


Fitness Mindset - Book (Amazon)


Brand new for 2017, The Fitness Mindset by the popular online fitness trainer Brian Keane is proving one of the most popular fitness books of the year – so it’s no surprise it’s also likely to be one of the most popular fitness gifts this Christmas.

The book covers so much, although it helps readers train both body and mind toward the goal of getting in the best physical shape of their life. Includes sections on how to eat to increase energy, lose fat and build lean muscle, as well as teaching us how to combine tension-style workouts and Hiit to build a fit, hard body. Sounds pretty good to us!


Samsung Gear Fit Pro 2 (Premium Gift!)

Samsung Gear Fit Pro 2

As fitness gifts go, the Samsung Gear Fit Pro 2 is certainly a premium present. Save this one for a very special someone…

However it’s one hell of a fitness watch. In addition to the functions you’d expect (heart-rate monitor, step counter, exercise tracking, and the rest), you get Spotify offline playback and 100% waterproof build for swim tracking.

Make sure to check out our full review of the Samsung Gear Fit Pro 2 for all the details.


FitNation Premium Resistance Bands (Perfect for Secret Santa)


FitNation Resistance Bands


Resistance bands are hugely popular at the moment, and a great alternative to weights as well as an excellent injury rehabilitation tool!

At under a fiver, these resistance bands make excellent Secret Santa fitness gifts (providing the recipient likes fitness…).

The set contains a trio of premium grade bands (measuring 30cm x 5cm each), with light, medium and heavy resistance. It also comes with a free pocket-sized carry bag. Bargain!


Steel Man Strength 4 in 1 Massage Set


4 in 1 Massage Kit


While a personal massage can be the ultimate remedy for your aches and pains, they can set you back many pounds – especially if you have a series of them.

So this complete fitness self-massage set is a godsend, especially for the budget price. Included in the set is a foam roller, a massage stick, a lacrosse ball and a spikey ball, for working every nook and cranny you can think off. It also comes with a handy carry case.

For the affordable price, the quality of this set is very good, and easily rivals some of the more expensive kits around.


Sport2People Running Pouch


Fitness Pouch


Finally we come to this neat little running pouch. It’s nothing fancy, but at under a tenner this simple pouch is super convenient for runners – allowing you to hold the essentials, such as keys, money, smartphone and snacks.

The adjustable neoprene pouch is light, comfortable and water resistance, and features reflective stripes for low-light running. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!


Welcome to Fitness Swansea!

Fitness Swansea

Welcome to Fitness Swansea!

We’re new, having launched in November 2017 – however we have some big ideas!

Whether you’re a bodybuilder, triathlete, power-lifter, gym rat, casual runner, or just someone in Swansea interested in getting a littler fitter, you’ve come to the right place.

At Fitness Swansea, our eventual aim is to become the hub of fitness news, gym reviews and information in the city.

We are not a gym, we are not an event, and we are not a government organisation. We’re simply an independent blog that loves talking about gyms and general fitness in Swansea!

We’ll keep adding to our blog with interesting articles about health and fitness (many from experts in their field). We’ll have honest gym reviews, fitness product reviews, and news on upcoming fitness events.

We also offer a directory of fitness classes, swimming pools, and gyms in South Wales (near Swansea). Again this will soon be much bigger than it is, but we’ve got to start somewhere!

If you’re a fitness or nutrition expert and fancy giving an article a go, get in touch. Same goes if you’re a regular gym goer and want to rate and review your gym, or favourite fitness class.

How to keep fit this Christmas (and still have fun)

Fitness Wales Running in Winter

These days, Christmas tends to be a booze-and-pie-fueled holiday, which seems to span at least a six week period. While the winter holiday is certainly something to look forward to, it also brings with it plenty of reasons to let your fitness goals fall apart.

However, it’s not necessary to let all your hard work over the year slip just because there is a mountain of mince pies within reach.

Here are a few quick tips to keep you in with a fighting chance at keeping fit this Christmas.

You’ll thank us come January!

Take Advantage of Snow!

Admittedly in Swansea we aren’t blessed with American-style mounds of snow, but if it does happen, there’s loads you can do in the snow to keep fit and have fun. Sledding down a hill (and climbing back up) is excellent cardio, while a snowball fight is the perfect reason to run around outside, while taking out some festive aggression. Fingers crossed for some white stuff this year…


Women keeps fit this Christmas

Stick to Your Routine

Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean you need to take a month-long break from your usual fitness routine. Sure, things get busier, and you probably won’t be heading to the gym on Christmas Day, but schedule in time for the gym, a run, or for a regular fitness class. A brisk walk is also ideal to soak up some daylight, although make sure to wrap up warm.

Eat at Home

‘Tis the season of parties, but do your best to eat at home, before you head out. That way you can enjoy a balanced, nutritious meal, and feel less urge to overindulge at a buffet or restaurant. It’ll also be more wallet-friendly!


Spouts to keep fit this Christmas

Keep your immune system strong and feel fit this Christmas with sprouts!

Indulge in Sprouts

Not everyone loves a brussel sprout. But these little green nuggets – a festive dinner staple – are awesome. Packed full of minerals and immune system-boosting vitamin C, there’s no better time to enjoy them, especially while they are fresh and in-season. Check out this article to read more on the benefits of sprouts.

Try a Fitness Advent Calendar

Instead (or at least in addition to…) your usual chocolate one, a fitness advent calendar is a great way to keep moving every day in December – whether you are a regular fitness enthusiast or a complete beginner. You gradually build up from a little exercise to a lot, meaning by Christmas Day, you have thoroughly deserved your dinner! Check out our article on fitness advent calendars and how to construct one yourself.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Over the winter party season, set aside at least two night’s a week to go to bed at a normal time (i.e. before midnight). It’ll keep you looking and feeling fresher than the guy who partied every night that week, energetic enough to do some exercise, plus it will keep your immune system in good shape.

Watch What You Drink

You don’t have to avoid Swansea’s Wind Street (although perhaps it’s a good idea anyway…), but the most obvious advice to keep fit this Christmas is to drink in moderation. Easier said than done sometimes, but give yourself a limit then stick to it. Just remind yourself that there are around 180 calories in a pint of beer, and up to 300 in a glass of wine.

Get Your Skates On!

Many towns and cities across Wales usually set up outdoor ice-rinks for public use over the winter (usually for a small price) – Swansea in particular, with the Winter Wonderland (in front of the LC). Whether you’re a seasoned ice-skating veteran, or have never tried it, it’s a surprisingly great way to get your heart rate up and have fun. Just watch those falls, and try not to break a leg…

Enjoy Yourself!

The festive season is a great time to enjoy eating and drink your favourite foods, and you shouldn’t stop yourself. Just limit yourself to more sensible portions and you’ll find you’ll be able to keep fit this Christmas with greater ease.