Les Mills Take-over

On January 11, Les Mills is taking over!

Come along to Cromer Terrace and try out all new classes for –

GRIT Strength – High Intensity Interval Training designed to improve strength, increase fitness and build lean muscle.

GRIT Cardio – A 30 minute, high intensity workout that improves cardiovascular fitness, increases speed and burns off calories.

Body Pump – The original barbell class which strengthens your entire body and challenges your major muscle groups.

Body Combat – An energetic and empowering cardio workout inspired by various martial arts styles.

Body Jam – A mixture of dance and aerobic moves blended with hip hop, funk and latin music. A fun workout.

…with new techniques, new music and a whole new level of fitness!


Classes will be taking place at Cromer Terrace between 10am – 3pm.

Keep an eye out for our new class launches every 3 months.


Sign-up now! 

Class times

GRIT Strength10:00 – 10:30
GRIT Cardio10:35 – 11:05
Body Pump11:15 – 12:15
Body Combat12:30 – 13:30
Body Jam13:45 – 14:45

5 ways to get started with your health and fitness

Personal Better: 5 ways post

Let 2020 be the year that you achieve your goal!

If you don’t know where to begin or just want to ease yourself back in after the Christmas break we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you.

1. Begin with low impact exercises and beginners’ workouts

Swimming is the perfect activity when you’re starting out as there is no impact and you can set your own pace. If you want to use the gym you can build your knowledge and confidence with workout videos. Check out our YouTube playlist for workout inspiration. We would recommend the Beginners Workout demonstrated by Personal Trainer Ali. It is a strength workout that covers all muscle groups that you can adapt to what you want to focus on. If you’re new to the Technogym equipment don’t hesitate to ask one of our team on setting up and using the machines safely.

2. Balance is best

After a potentially indulgent December, it can be easy to believe that by being strict and restrictive you’re being healthy. If that is maintainable and works for you, great! However, for most of us, we struggle to maintain the discipline required so this year strike a balance. If you know you’re going out for a meal with friends in the evening just have a lighter lunch that day. If you want to cut back, cut back on snacking between meals. But the one thing you can do is diversify the food you eat. Dr Chatterjee recommends keeping an alphabet chart to help you eat a wide range of foods and if you want to try out some new recipes, we have some great ones, including a Roasted Vegetable Stew.

3. Discover what is going to get you motivated and moving

Exercise and activity shouldn’t feel like a hardship. You just need to find what you really enjoy doing. Over January just try different activities you think you might like. At The Edge you can try climbing, squash, Edge courses, including how to play racquetball, and exercise classes. Classes are perfect for beginners as the instructor will check your form, you’re motivated by everyone around you, and we have over 220 different ones, so you’ll definitely be able to discover what you enjoy doing. Download our class guide (PDF) to get started.

4. Join or exercise with a friend

Another reason why classes are fantastic is that each class is like a small community. November’s Members of the Month were nominated because of the support and enthusiasm they bring to each class. Also, starting your health and fitness journey with a likeminded friend is great for motivation and discipline.

5. Have an achievable goal you can work towards

Remember that this is a journey with a purpose. This purpose can range from ‘I want to be exercising three times a week’ to ‘By the end of 2020 I will be lifting 50kgs’. Whatever it is, what is crucial is that you give yourself a date to accomplish it by and that you make sure it is realistically achievable. Also try and track your progress. We have INBODY Technology that can do a full-body analysis that analyses more than just weight. If you don’t know where to start, why not book a PT consultation? Our experts can support you with planning and achieving your goal.

What happened in Semester 1?

semester 1 round up 1100x400

It’s been a fantastic semester for Get out, Get Active. We’ve been as busy as ever engaging existing participants and volunteers as well as recruiting new ones to take part and support our activities. As it’s reaching the end of 2019, we’re taking some time to look back and reflect on Semester 1.


We’ve hosted more walks than ever before with 1,179 participants getting out and about in Yorkshire and beyond this semester. We have visited some of our firm favourites: Ilkley Moor, Malham Cove and Haworth in Yorkshire, Ambleside, Keswick and Windermere in the Lake District and Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast.


We introduced one new walking location to our programme this semester- Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. Participants enjoyed a walk along the riverbank and in the woodland before they had some free time to enjoy the town. Participants explored Knaresborough Castle and enjoyed the views of the majestic Victorian viaduct.

Next semester you can expect some brand new walking trip locations in Yorkshire, the coast and Wales. We are also hosting the first ever walking trip to Scotland! You can book onto our walks now. Click here to browse the trips and secure your ticket.

Food workshops

This semester we re-introduced our food workshops which were attended by 57 participants.

GOGA food workshop

Our Mexican themed workshop saw participants cooking up vegetarian enchiladas topped with a spiced tomato sauce and double cheese. The complimentary side dishes were chunky guacamole and creamy corn and black bean salsa. The vegan workshop was back by popular demand and participants cooked Sicilian aubergine stew (Caponata) and raw coconut balls.

Our workshops begin again in February.

Indoor and outdoor climbing

Our climbing programme was bigger than ever before this semester with 44 participants enjoying the regular indoor sessions at the climbing wall at the Edge and outdoor trips at Almscliffe Crag. The beginner indoor sessions are perfect for anybody who wishes to give climbing a try. They provide you with an understanding of the skills and techniques used in climbing which can be transferred outdoors.

Our indoor sessions begin again in February and our outdoor trips return

GOGA climbing

in March.

Balance classes

Our balance classes have been as popular as ever with over 300 participations in our pilates, yoga and Garuda classes. Garuda Matwork joined our programme this semester. Instructor, Sandy, has enjoyed teaching the innovative exercise system which encompasses the principles of pilates, breath work and asana practices of yoga as well as elements of Tai-Chi.

The classes are a fantastic way to take a break away from your desk at lunchtime and they complement other forms of activity. They require no level of commitment; you simply sign up and pay the entry on the day. The balance classes will return to the programme at the end of January after the exam period.

Couch to 5K

We hosted our first ever entry level Couch to 5K programme this semester. 25 staff from across the university community took part in the programme which culminated  in a graduation event for all participants at the Leeds 5K series at the Brownlee Cycle Centre. All runners completed a chip-timed 5K run at the EvenSplits licensed event.

Many Couch to 5K participants signed up to the programme as they were returning to or starting exercise for the first time after illness and injury and long absences. Other motivations to take part in the programme included a desire to increase self-confidence around running.

The run leaders carefully designed sessions to help participants progress and build up their fitness whilst improving their technique and knowledge about running. They were recognised for their inspiring work as they were awarded the Health and Wellbeing Champions award as part of the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Health and Safety 2019.

There is a continuation pathway for the participants and many have joined our run club that meet twice weekly for a lunchtime run. It’s great to see participants joining the wider running community on campus.

The next Couch to 5K programme will be beginning on Tuesday 4th February. You can read more about it and book onto the next Couch to 5K here.

Looking forwards…

Kayaking will be returning to the programme next semester with the first session in mid-February. The session will take place on the Leeds-Liverpool canal which is an ideal setting to experience flat water kayaking outdoors.

Thank you to our participants, volunteers and activators. It has been a fun semester and we’re very much looking forward to Semester 2. On behalf of the GOGA team, we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. See you in 2020!

Festive charity football fun

5 a side football header 1100x400

14 teams from across the university kitted up and took part in a staff 5 a side football tournament this week raising money for the local charity, Leeds Mind.

The tournament, which took place on Thursday 19th December at the Edge, was open to all staff members at the university with proceeds going directly to Leeds Mind.

A total of £131.80 was raised for Leeds Mind which was made up of team entries and extra donations.

Teams from all corners of the university community entered the tournament- Sport and Physical Activity, Communications, LUU, the School of Politics & Wellbeing Safety & Health to name just a few of the teams that took part.

Teams were split into two leagues and games were 5 minutes long to accommodate the large number of teams and fixtures.

There was some fantastic football on show with a competitive final taking place between LUU Rovers and Real Politik. The champions of the tournament were LUU Rovers; they won 1-0 in the final.

Congratulations also to the other semi-finalists who were Things Are About To Get Messi and Weetwood Wanderers.

Well done to all involved! It was great to see so many people taking part in the tournament and raising money for a worthy cause.

If you fancy getting involved in future tournaments, we will be hosting a staff netball tournament next April. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about this!

Spotlight of the month: Activator

Activator spotlight header 1100x400

This month we are spotlighting one of our Get out, Get Active activators, Gaby Alodia. Gaby has been involved with GOGA in various capacities for a few years. We caught up with her to hear about how it all started.

GOGA spotlight

Tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Gaby and I’m currently in the final year of my PhD, studying geophysics.

How did you first hear about GOGA?

It’s been a long time since I first got involved with GOGA so I’m not really sure, but I think it was through the LUU website. I was a participant at first, then I became a volunteer and I am now an activator!

What made you apply for the activator role?

I had been a volunteer for about two years and thought I would be able to experience more as an activator. I wanted to be more involved with GOGA, as I love the way the programme is run, so I thought why not become an activator!

What activities have you been involved in as an activator?

Mostly our waking trips, but I have also promoted our ‘campus discovery’ event via our GOGA app on campus and have led a couple of our Wednesday afternoon indoor climbing sessions at the Edge.

What do you enjoy most about being an activator with GOGA?

I meet so many new people through GOGA – every time I lead a walk I meet people from different parts of the world. It’s rewarding to know that people enjoy their time on one of my walks when I see them again on future trips. It’s also a great stress relief and gives me a reason to get away from my desk. I have the chance to do my hobby as a job, as going on walks is something I do in my free time anyway!

Do you feel you have learnt anything new through being an activator?

I have learnt how to manage a lot of people in one go, taking care of them and being responsible for them – in terms of safety as well as their enjoyment!

Please summarise being a GOGA activator in 3 words…

Adventure, nature and international!



Sign up to our fantastic Alumni offer!

Congradulations, 15% off alumni membership

If you are graduating this December and staying in Leeds, why not take this opportunity to save money on an Alumni membership?

Sign up within 12 months of your graduation date and you can save 15% on monthly and annual memberships.

This means you can get an Edge membership from as little as £30.41 per month or £310.25 per year (£25.85 per month). For more information on our Alumni membership prices check out our Alumni memberships page on the website.

Not only will you get a great deal on an Edge membership but if you are an existing Edge member, there will be no further joining fees for you to pay!

To sign up or find out more, contact the membership team on edgemembership@leeds.ac.uk or visit reception.

Learn to play Squash or Racquetball this January


Fancy trying your hand at something new in 2020? Start early by signing up to one of our Learn to Play courses, starting from 27th January.

Sign up to one of our courses and you’ll:

  • Learn the rules of squash or racquetball and how to play
  • Get to grips with basic techniques for moving and striking
  • Find out more about the strategies of squash or racquetball
  • Working with our expert instructor you’ll gain confidence playing squash or racquetball
  • Attending the course will help build a social group of contacts to play future games with


Learn to Play: Squash

If you’re new to squash, this beginners course is a great intro to the sport. Fun, social and inclusive, it will challenge both the body and mind. Fancy something easier? Check out our Learn to Play Racquetball session below.

When is it? This course starts on Monday 27th January, with a free taster available on Monday 20th January.

  • Mondays 18:00 – 18:45
  • Mondays 18:45-19:30

How much is it?

  • £65 for a 6 week course

How can I book? You can book via the Edge reception


Learn to Play: Racquetball 

Join our latest beginners course and get an introduction to racquetball, a sport great for wellbeing by training both the mind and the body. Best of all, our Edge members can enjoy some great discounts!

What is racquetball? Racquetball is very similar to squash but uses smaller racquets and larger balls, the rules are also less strict making the game easier to play and ideal for beginners.

When is it? This course starts on Tuesday 28th January, with a free taster available on Monday 20th January.

We have two sessions running for 6 weeks, with 4 spaces per session.

You can choose either:

Tuesdays 17:15 – 18:00
Tuesdays 18:00 – 18:45

How much is it?

Premium members – Free
Edge club members – £40
Non-members – £65

How can I book? You can book via the Edge reception

Men’s Football: Donating our Time to Charity

men's football team picture in black and white
During my time as President of the University of Leeds Men’s Association Football Club in 2018/19, I made it a priority to ensure the club went beyond getting involved in fundraising for charity. Lots of money gets donated to charities across the country, which is great, but what can be far more impactful is donating your time to a worthy cause.

While searching for a charity that supported homelessness in Leeds, I came across HOMED. I’d never heard of it before, despite it being an LUU society. I made contact with HOMED in January 2019. They explained they were struggling to maintain their Wednesday evening food distribution due to lack of resources. With Wednesday being the day we have socials at night, after BUCS fixtures in the day, it seemed a perfect slot for a group each week to get involved. A huge amount of our members expressed an interest to help out. Within a week or two, we’d begun working with HOMED weekly and have continued working with them this academic year.

The Wednesday evening food run is a walk via a planned route through the city centre that the charity put together. The route is designed to come across as many people living on the streets as possible.

We would bring 5 members each week who were guided on the walk by a couple of volunteers from HOMED. Usually, it’s lads that have had a home game. They’d prepare 4 portions of warm food that was simple yet popular. Other volunteers would bring extra food, hot drinks, disposable cutlery and some essential supplies when possible.

members of the men's football team with HOMED in Leeds City Centre with bags of food.

Everyone you come across is extremely grateful for your help, food donations and also for the opportunity to have a chat.

“Some of the more touching moments I’ve experienced has been when a homeless person tells you they’ve managed to get a bit of food earlier, but points you in the direction of a someone down the road who they think needs it more.”

We’ve currently got nearly 40 lads actively involved. Not everyone can attend each week but the large list makes the rota easy to organise. This ensures we’ve always got enough people available. This level of interest shows we can increase our involvement, not just with HOMED, but with other charities too.

Investing our time as a collective is a hugely efficient way to help Homed carry out their amazing work. This helps make the lives of the less fortunate a little bit easier.

It’s a fantastic way to integrate new members of the society into the spirit of the football club. Another notable benefit of our involvement is the inclusive social aspect it brings. Typical Wednesday night socials aren’t for everyone, but this provides another chance to get involved off the pitch.

Through the Lens: Careers in Sport

Camera Lens

Have you ever dreamt of a career in sport?

Sarah Robinson, Leeds University’s sport performance manager spoke to us about her journey. From early sporting success in her adolescence to landing her first role as a full-time coach, Robinson dives into the past and reveals how one set-back can transform into a window of opportunity for a successful career in sport.


What does the role of sports performance manager involve?

Robinson explained that there are two key areas within her role. The first is focused on supporting sports scholar athletes and managing a task program tailored for them. The TASS athlete scholarship program provides athletes with additional support including physiotherapy, nutritional advice, strength and conditioning coaching and academic liaison support – “[A] bespoke package around the athlete.” The second is managing the relationship and working with the university’s sports clubs and societies in terms of their development plans and year-on-year progression.

 What inspired you to have a career in sport?

Robinson initially began studying three dimensional design, yet emphasised that sport had always played a major part in her life. From the age of ten, she became interested in synchronised swimming at her local leisure centre in Pudsey, West Yorkshire. By the age of twelve, Robinson had progressed to national level where she went on to compete at the British Championships. After achieving various medal wins she pressed on and trialled for the senior GB team in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics. To her dismay, she was unsuccessful in the selection process, however this setback did not stand in the way of other opportunities. It was at this point, where she made the decision to transition into coaching.

How did you land your first job as a full-time coach?

From starting as a lifeguard at the age of sixteen, Robinson took on multiple roles at the leisure centre ranging from her job as a receptionist to a cleaner. But it was when she made the choice to go into coaching that her career took off.  

She said, “I had no idea that it would become a career. When I was at university, I was coaching and training for a little bit and following that I was fortunate because there was legacy funding for sports like synchronised swimming. At the time, I was lucky because there were four full-time jobs open in the UK so I went for one of those and managed to get it.”

Robinson gravitated towards coaching because of her love for it and for “the love of sport”.

“Looking back both my parents played for England volleyball so I basically grew up in a sports centre which I think is why I wasn’t necessarily interested in the beginning. It was just so familiar and I wanted something different initially, they were both teachers as well so that’s kind of interesting and they’re both coaches. So, I think they’ve probably had a really strong influence on me and I was always surrounded by people who were sporty. Sport was always a normal part of life and placing sport as a priority was always the norm.”

Did you ever face any hurdles along the way? If so, how did you motivate yourself to overcome these issues?

When I started in my first coaching job I was really fresh out of university and it was a big leap for me and everybody else because ultimately, it was a big step up and I had not anticipated how big of a step it was going to be, so it was like a baptism of fire. But, it was probably the best thing for me as I had to learn things extremely quickly. The challenge then was believing in myself. There was a lot of self-doubt for a good couple of years and I had to convince everybody else that I would be successful.”

Robinson told Leeds Sport that personal development has been a major part of her career growth. When she started off after university, she lacked the confidence to back her decisions and felt the need to change her attitudes about herself. So she took a risk and used her initiative to create a process regarding a vibrant new training plan.

“I had to develop my confidence to create a process because a lot of the time no process existed and there was no precedent to go off so I couldn’t just follow a plan.”

Essentially, it was Robinson’s passion for sport which helped her to stay focussed and committed. While she felt underqualified for her role initially, she knew she had the skills to execute her program successfully.

“In a sport without much funding, you are everything. You have to be able to educate yourself in nutrition, sports psychology and time management because you just don’t have the support services available  ̶  which is what is so fantastic about Leeds because we do have that available.”

Robinson payed credit to her colleagues as helping her to stay motivated as well as receiving regular feedback from students. She also emphasised the importance of setting targets.

Who inspired you when you were younger?

“Someone who had a key influence on me was a coach called Heber who competed at the Olympics with her twin sister Sarah. They came over to Leeds University from Egypt to study and while they were here, they got in touch with my local club in Pudsey and offered to coach for free. They were such positive people as well as being amazing coaches – they really inspired my coaching.

Following this, I went on to Manchester and had another fantastic coach at the club also. After that, once I started my career as a coach, my manager was Adrian Hinchcliffe who coached Olympic divers like Chris Mears at Leeds.”

Do you have any goals for the future?

“At present, I want to keep developing my management skills so the next thing I’d like to do is complete some more qualifications around management to further develop those and continue to build on that.”

Robinson encourages anyone interested in sport to start as early as possible, whether its working as a lifeguard in your local leisure centre at sixteen or simply helping out at your local sports club. She also expressed that you should always challenge yourself despite feeling too underqualified when applying to new roles – self-confidence is the key.


Volunteer of the Month: Zejun Yao

Volunteer of the month cross country running

November’s volunteer of the month is Zejun Yao. Leeds Sport chatted to him about the volunteering he is involved in and how it felt to be recognised for his fantastic efforts. 


Which volunteering programme are you on & what does your role involve?

I am volunteering as a Coaching Scholar for Leeds Sport . My role is to support the Cross Country Club and the lead coach Greg with a multitude of activities from programme planning to weekly team training and individual student development in distance running.

How much time do you commit to volunteering per week and how do you manage this alongside your studies?

During term time I am delivering approximately 2 to 3 hours of coaching at the University per week This includes two evening sessions on Tuesday and Thursday, usually on grass or track, followed by a Saturday morning run too. It takes effort to balance study/research time with volunteering but also simultaneously helps me to become more productive and flexible.

What made you want to volunteer?

Running and coaching directly reflects my passion for both sports activity and my practice-led PhD. The work-in-progress coaching experience with the university team will help me to confidently develop independent and team working skills. It will enable me to envisage the short to long-term training programme development and team management. Volunteering for the student community in various outdoor locations allows me to improve my leadership skills; being able to accurately deliver more in-depth and behind the scenes knowledge and critical thinking.

What is the best thing about volunteering?

‘Joie de vivre’ or ‘Joy of living’ – I consider the Coaching Scholar programme as a unique experience which would benefit the transition from a postgraduate student athlete towards an independent athlete/coach in the future and am looking forward to the opportunities to continue supporting our student community.

What are the challenges?

The programme and coaching covers both team training and club race events, which relates directly to BUCS, the National Cross Country Championships and the following track season. I am currently working closely with the lead coach of Leeds Sport to discuss the annual planning for both recreational and competitive student athletes. During the weekly training sessions, I provide live feedback to participants and communicate the challenges that have arisen between the collective and individual needs of the group. Additionally, I offer advice and demonstrations by providing additional training support for injury prevention, strength and conditioning development.

Would you recommend volunteering to others?


How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?

Feeling like a running ‘Kaomoji’ (emoji)!


‘Jun has thrown himself into his coaching role with great enthusiasm and is a valuable member of the cross-country club. In spite of being injured this season, he has continued to cycle to coaching each week to support his fellow students. He has also undertaken two coaching qualifications in a short space of time (Leadership in running fitness, and Coaching Assistant) and hopes to take his next qualification soon. Parallel to this Jun is a well-rounded and interesting person to be around!’ Suzzi Garnett, Sports Volunteering Officer

You can read more about Jun and his PhD work here: https://www.letjun.run/