Long before Fitness First, LA Fitness or Virgin Active came London’s Central YMCA Club or “the Y”. The building that the current club stands in (or maybe under is the correct term) was built in 1976 and it was probably the first gym that many Londoner’s used at a time when fitness was just beginning to become important to Londoners. However, there was a gym in the YMCA’s first building on Great Russell Street as far back as 1911.

The current club has one of the widest selection of facilities available with possibly the cheapest membership fees for any gym with a swimming pool in town. Whatever your (indoor) sport, there is probably a class or facility available for you to hire from badminton and basketball courts (did you know the Y invented basketball?), to swimming, weight training and Zumba. The sheer size of the club is impressive with 4 floors of exercise space, particularly given its underground location on Tottenham Court Road. The lowest level contains the free weights area a wide selection of resistance machinery, the treadmills and changing rooms along with a massive area that can be used for basketball, table tennis and badminton, plus the changing rooms and a cycling studio. The floors above contain a stretch area, cross trainers and other cardio machinery, class rooms, dance studios, the list goes on. After that you have a 25 metre swimming pool and a large coffee shop.. Also on that level are the main classrooms used by YMCAfit which runs classes for those wishing to join the fitness industry.

More details on the club can be found here:- http://www.ymcaclub.co.uk/

More details about YMCAfit can be found here:- http://www.ymcafit.org.uk/



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Cumulative blood volume training (part 1)

CBVT is a training methodology that is based on the science that has demonstrated that the difference between the body of a bodybuilder and the body of anyone who trains “normally” in the gym, is not the size of the muscle fibres themselves.  The difference is the result of the level of hydration within the muscle fibres.  This is referred to as hyper-hydration.

Why might you want to use this technique?  Just as everyone is different and has longer or shorter legs/arms/neck, we don’t all have the same number of muscle fibres within our bodies.  As a result, some people find it easy to get bigger.  So, if you feel that your legs or chest are not as big as you want them to be, CBVT may help you improve the look of a muscle group.  Note, this is about the look of a muscle, not its strength.

There are two parts to CBVT.  The workout and the nutrition.

The workout itself may feel odd at first as you are reducing the weight to about 75% of your normal “lift” and increasing the number of reps to between 12 to 15 which would normally put you into an endurance rep range.  What is different is that at the top of each rep, you hold the muscle contraction for 3 to 5 seconds and you pause between sets for no more than 45 seconds.  The theory says that by holding the contraction you are stopping blood flow temporarily causing a build-up of by-products, when you then let go, your body floods that area with blood to clear the by-products thus giving you that “pumped” look.  This is why you shorten the pause between sets so that your body doesn’t have the time to return to normal.  After the next set, your body pumps in yet more blood, increasing the pump yet further.

That hopefully explains the reason it’s called blood volume training, but why cumulative?  For the pump to take hold, you need to do 15 to 20 sets.  As you can’t do 15 to 20 sets of bench pressing, you need to think of your entire workout as one giant superset with only 45 second pauses between exercises as well as between sets.  The result is one very tired person and some very pumped muscles.

That’s the workout, next time, the nutrition.


Phil Evelyn is a personal trainer currently based at Paris Gym  in Vauxhall and at Physique Warehouse Gym in West Molesey.




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