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Help! I’m in a Fitness Rut!

We hear you and to help with your dilemmas, we've brought in the best expert we know: Claire Morgan-Hughes.

A little while ago, we asked you, dearest Muddy readers to get in touch with all your fitness-related dilemmas and questions; basically anything that’s been holding you back from biting the bullet and committing to change. Now, we’re putting the amazing pocket rocket behind Devon Fit Camp through her paces as we shriek – H-E-L-P! Over to you, Claire!

woman exercising on beach

Q I’m a Mum with a busy full-time job and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in my day for exercise! It always seems to be the thing that falls off my to-do list each week. I can’t seem to manage prioritising it, argh!

I get it! It’s hard sometimes to fit it all in. There are several schools of thought on this. Firstly, please don’t give yourself a hard time. It takes just one scroll through any social media site to feel that everyone else seems to be able to “get it together” and you are left feeling rubbish and inadequate. You’ve heard the saying ‘comparison kills’? You’re doing a fabulous job as a working mum, so take a moment to congratulate yourself.

Secondly, what is it you want to achieve within your fitness? Do you want to exercise because everyone else seems to be working out, or because you want to add it to your life? When you have your “why” and really understand why exercising is important to you, then prioritising can be so much easier.

What do you enjoy doing? I’m a firm believer that exercise should be fun! Not always at the same time, but if you actually dread working out and will do anything to put it off, there is no fun at all in that. Once you’ve decided what you would like to do, then you are already ahead of the game!

Now for the practical. My motto is to  “start low, go slow and aim high”:

Start Low – what’s the minimum you need to do to get started? Can you get out for a walk? Can you do this twice a week for example? It’s the starting sometimes that is the biggest task. I often challenge my team to find 4 minutes; most people can find just 4 minutes – then divide that time into 20 seconds of training ie jogging / sprints or even skipping and have 10 seconds rest in-between. Do this for 4 minutes and you’ve already started to exercise. Gone are the days of spending hours in the gym to get a result!

Go Slow – there’s no hurry! If you try to run a marathon today and yet haven’t put on a pair of trainers since PE at school, then you’ll feel demoralised and fed up in minutes. Take it easy, work at your rate and celebrate that you are moving a little more than yesterday.

Aim High – when you know what you’d like to achieve long term that can help you stay focused, knowing you are working towards a goal. Like I said, know your “why”. Find a challenge that you’d like to complete; maybe the Park Run, (there are hundreds all over the UK) or the Cancer Research 5km run, as an example. Share this with your family and friends (even get them involved too!), it’s so much more fun working out with like-minded people who want to achieve the same goal as you. It keeps you accountable too!

Hope this has helped!


people in spin class

Q I’m keen to join a group fitness session, but find it all too intimidating. I’m worried about walking into a room full of people who all know each other and know all the moves…. being the sweaty fat new girl at the back who keeps getting it wrong.  Being a bit deaf doesn’t help. Do I stand at the front so I can hear? Or hide at the back?

It’s so hard, isn’t it? You’ve taken the time to make the decision to start to get fit and focus on your health – and then choosing the place you want to commit to as well? It can all seem a bit much and so many people stop before they’ve even got started. I get that – the gym is a scary place, fitness classes are scary. Anything slightly out of our comfort zone is scary. We don’t want to look or feel out of place, or get it wrong or feel embarrassed. That’s one of the reasons our motto at Devon Fit Camp is to “take that first small step”, often the biggest one of your life, but rest assured we’ve all been there and lived to tell the tale – honestly! Every one of our members will have felt just like you. Many have heard about us for a long time before they’ve plucked up the courage to pick up the phone and get in touch. I can promise they’ve not regretted it either!

I speak to every one of our new members before they start with us on a call that we’ve named a strategy session – and yes that includes what your main concerns are about starting a new programme or health and fitness regime. We chat and I find out from you what your goals and desires are, what might hold you back and how I can best help. It’s so important to me that you feel at ease before walking through the door on your first day.  And once you do, our workouts are fun – yes, really!

Still not sure where to start? My best advice is to find something you look forward to going to, something that you’ll love, something you are excited about. If you hate cycling, then a spin class maybe won’t work for you. But there will be something out there for you. Secondly, take the pressure off yourself – new is new. That first day might feel awkward and uncomfortable but for sure the second and third time you attend a fitness session, it WILL get easier.

There is no right or wrong but there’s a lot of mileage in taking that first step and getting started. You’ll be amazed how quickly you progress! One step in front of the other…


woman stretching

Q I’m finding a real lack of classes that are suitable for me and my lifestyle: so many classes have off-putting, aggressive titles with ‘attack’ ‘blast’ and yes ‘boot camp’. All the gentle, tone and stretch type classes are on weekdays when all us women who have to work until we’re at least 70 are stuck in the office! What’s a woman to do?!

I couldn’t agree more! I totally understand the language around classes is most off-putting; it’s one of the reasons we are called Devon Fit Camp – we’re not a bootcamp, no screaming or shouting here! If the class name is going to terrify you – it’ll terrify us too!

Finding the right class or programme for you is key to not just getting started but staying motivated, so there are some pertinent questions to ask when finding the right class for you.

Give the venue, or class a call and find out what is actually behind the scary title of the class name; what type of people they have coming along; What benefits you’ll feel from going along; and finally why not ask if you can attend to try out the class. We wouldn’t buy a house or a car without taking a look around or going on a test drive and we offer FREE taster sessions for this exact same reason. It’s important that you enjoy coming along, that you get the results you desire and have lots of fun whilst you are at it!

If you’re really struggling, consider what you can do from home. We have an online programme, especially for people who want the results we guarantee but who can’t get to us because of location or lifestyle. You’ll have the exact same support as the members who we see face to face, except you are in charge of what time you exercise!

Good luck in finding the right class for you.


Like what you’re reading? Reckon you need a little more of Claire’s positivity and encouragement in your life? You can get in touch with her directly for help with fitness goals, regardless of fitness level. For a personal strategy call just to get you started, call: 01752 426223, or visit


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