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Welcome to issue number 16 of the lockdown special!

Welcome to the last ever lockdown newsletter as lockdown officially eases and outdoor classes start tomorrow (woohoo!). We’ve been on such a journey with you all over these last 16 weeks and we really hope we’ve been able to make this weird, difficult, painful, confusing time a little bit easier for you. Even though we won’t be appearing in you’re inboxes quite as much (back to the bumper monthly editions) we are still right here for you. Get in touch with any of us, anyway you like!

This week we have reflections, turnips and a game of spot the difference! And we’ll see some of you tomorrow…eeeeeeeek!!!!


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And the day has finally arrived! Well….ALMOST! We know that outdoor classes aren’t exactly what we want but we’ll take it and we hope very much that we are now on a linear path to reopening fully!
To say we are excited to be welcoming you back to the gym tomorrow a huge understatement.  We have been so moved by the overwhelming support we have received over the past 15 weeks that to be finally be able to offer you more than online classes is just amazing!
With that said we have loved seeing so many of you in the online classes, joining us for the quizzes, taking part in the nutrition programme, rising to the challenges set by coaches, selecting challenges for the coaches, helping us raise vital funds and supporting us through 5,190 burpees!  The past 15 weeks have been such a rollercoaster with some real lows but some very definite highs.  We feel closer to you than ever and like we are beginning the reopening of the newly renamed Valesco FItness Collective, as a stronger, more united community than we have ever been.  We aren’t out of the woods yet and 2020 will no doubt continue to be a weird and challenging year in many ways but we are super excited about the future and having you all along for the ride with us!
5,190 thank you’s doesn’t come close to conveying the love, gratitude and heartfelt thanks we have for each and every one of you.  We have been truly humbled by your support and if 2020 has taught us 1 thing it is that community is everything.
With so much love,
Ellie, Amy & Leila


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WOW a lot has happened in 100 days. It really is crazy to think how things have changed since lockdown first happened and all the things we’ve managed to acheive together. Take a walk down memory lane here!


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Outdoor classes start tomorrow and we can not wait to see all your beautiful faces! The programming is loaded into Wodify, the barbells are polished and Leo can’t wait to have some more company!

Just as a little reminder…

– Each class will have space for up to 5 members as per government guidelines of the maximum number of people who can do exercise, outside, in a group

– Each class will be 45 minutes long with time to clean down your training station at the end before the next class starts

– Each class will use a barbell (unloaded or we would have to request all kit returned to the gym this week) and a rower/ski erg/assault bike, body weight exercise and boxes

– Programming will follow similar lines to classes prior to lock-down with a warm up, a strength or skill element and a workout

– The classes will take place in the car park as the ground around the side of the gym is too uneven to use so there will be NO PARKING ON SITE (please do not use Johnstone’s or the Electrical centre)
– Due to government guidelines we will not be able to allow anyone to use the facilities so no toilets, showers or water machine/taps will be available – sorry!

– Classes will be available to BOOK IN WODIFY 48 hours in advance ONLY (meaning Monday’s class can’t be booked until Saturday morning) and we respectfully ask that you do not book classes on consecutive days

– To ensure everyone’s safety we will be providing cleaning buckets for each station that contain hand sanitiser, blue roll, cleaning spray and wipes.  The training stations will be positioned 2m from each other. Chalk will not be available to use so please bring your own if you wish to use it and dont be tempted to share it with anyone else please.

– Until we can have more members in each class please limit yourself to a MAXIMUM OF 2 CLASSES PER WEEK / 1 if on BRONZE  (including Open gym) and we will monitor the usage closely.  There will be a waiting list for each class so we can see where the hot-spots for classes are and in the event we are greatly over subscribed and people can’t get into any classes we will look at how we can facilitate more classes as quickly as possible.  Please bear with us – this is an unknown for us and we have put in place what we think and hope will serve as a good interim measure until we are fiiiiiiiiiinally allowed to open our doors again.  Continue to use the Zoom classes, as well as the outside classes at the gym, and KEEP EVERYTHING CROSSED GYMS WILL OPEN IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS (as per Boris Johnson’s latest comments today).

– If you can’t book into a class you can book into Open gym and follow the class programming for the day or come and do your own thing

–  Weekend classes will remain on Zoom until we can open officially and train inside the gym

We are so excited to see you all!!


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As outdoor classes are kicking off, we’ve made some adjustments to our online timetable, to make sure we can coach as many of you as possible throughout the day.

The PDF with the Zoom links is in the Facebook group and your inbox. Save it to your desktop so you can click straight into the Zoom rooms!


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Simon Stacey sent us his reflections on the last 15 weeks and we feel like this speaks for so so many of us…enjoy!

”Whoever said ‘for things to remain the same, things have got to change…’ must have had the last 4 months in mind!

Overnight I went from going to the gym 3/4 times per week to working from home and wondering how to exercise.

Time for the Valesco team to show their true potential…

Home WOD appeared, I did the second, and that was enough…. wow it was hard. Luckily ZoomWOD was then created, 6:30 was my chosen slot. A regular Cohort formed of fellow Zoomers (Emma/ Harry/ Lucy and Tash) and great fun was had with much hilarity. In the early days for me it was indoors and working out right next to a hot radiator was certainly a warming experience. Equally my family were quite worried about the amount of huffing, puffing and grunting coming from me! After a few weeks it was warm and dry enough to go outside and apart from really heavy rain have kept at it.
I thought it important that we kept the tone serious and during the first ZoomWOD the look on Amy’s face when we presented our ‘weights’ which in my case was a bottle of fizz in one hand and gin in the other was absolutely priceless. Equally I think the post driver/ sledge hammer seems amusing to some; can’t see why myself :).
I tried 2 Saturday workouts, that was enough…couldn’t move for the next day or so afterwards. Zoom Yoga on a Sunday is fantastic and I am very pleased it is continuing as it saves me having to drive in, and even better I get to practice it with Lucy, my lovely wife.
Then the weightlifting class on Wednesday evening started, loved every session, and again as we could only use PVC pipe it was the focus on movement and mobility that has helped. Even though at the end of a 2 minute squat stretch I often considered calling my family to help me stand up as I was not sure I could do it myself. ‘Ruptured’ was a phrase often felt if not heard.


I bravely/ foolishly (delete as applicable) offered early on in the fundraising to do 100 burpees to help the effort. It was surprisingly OK and luckily the mat I used was mostly in shade, as the bit in the sun was burning hot. Hats off to Amy/ Ellie and Leila for the 5192 on one of the hottest days of the year so far.


Thursday evenings soon became ‘Cooking with the Sally and Charlie show’, seriously those two should be on TV. The Facebook format means that all comments are typed so Sally did a fantastic job to keeping it all on track. Apart from the fantastic food, one of the best bits was Ellie discovering that her mother doesn’t like Halloumi, and the subsequent discussion.


What I have found is that as the amount of weights/ toys we have to play with is limited the workouts have become far more self weight. This has actually made a big difference. I can now do Burpees, Pistil Squats and even quite like Devils Press. I wonder if I would have achieved the same by now with the regular gym routine?


I am very much looking forwards to both going back into the gym and continuing with Zoom WOD as I think they will be mutually supportive.


So to end a somewhat rambling piece, I would like to give an extremely heartfelt thank you from me to the entire Valesco team, coaches and members all for what we have done and what we will do”.



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For the final instalment of the Lockdown Newsletter we will be closing the chapter on supplemental protein with Vegan Protein. Whether you are vegan, dairy intolerant or just want something different, here is a closer look at what to look out for.

Vegan Protein

Vegan protein powders can be blended or individual ingredients such as rice, pea hemp seeds or soy. They are generally isolated to remove most of the fat and carbs leaving protein-rich powder. Unlike animal protein, most plant proteins may contain lower levels of essential amino acids required to support optimal protein synthesis in your body. If you eat a wide variety of plant proteins, you should get all of the amino acids you need, but if you know your diet is somewhat limited, a vegan protein blend can ensure you get all the amino acids you need in a bio-available form.

The individual plant proteins:

Pea Protein

Made from yellow split peas a 28g serving (around 100 kcals) contains about 21g of protein. Although it contains all the essential amino acids, it is relatively low in methionine, a sulphur-containing amino acid used to build proteins in the body. Despite this, it is rich in BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids): leucine, isoleucine and valine which are incredibly beneficial in helping to fuel working muscles. The take home for pea protein is that users may experience the same ‘gainz’ to those consuming whey protein if used in conjunction with strength training. Studies have also suggested that pea protein help to lower blood pressure.

Hemp Protein

Hemp Protein comes from the seeds of the cannabis plant (please believe); from a variety that contains only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabionol contained in the class C drug cannabis). It may not make you high, but it does have other benefits that can give a positive lift. A 28g serving (108 kcals) contains less than half the protein content of pea protein at around 12g. Although a complete protein, studies have shown in to contain low levels of lysine. That said, it contains significant amounts of methionine, thus filling the gap made by pea protein. Added to this, hemp is easy to digest and has some other amazing health properties: especially if you are opting for a plant-based diet. Hemp is rich in fibre, iron, zinc, magnesium and particularly high in the plant form of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Pumpkin Seed Protein

Pumpkin seeds are relatively high in protein with the added bonus of being incredibly nutritious! They are one of the highest plant-based sources of zinc and magnesium as well as being a good source of other minerals and nutrients. When made into protein powder, most of the fat is removed so you get the goodness without the calories! A 28g scoop (100 kcals) sits at around 18g protein and is considered a complete source of amino acids; although its fairly low in threonine and lysine. Worth considering for the health properties just as much as the protein content…especially if you are opting for a plant based diet.

Brown Rice Protein

A good allrounder, BRP has proved itself in studies to be as good as whey protein when taken to support muscle growth and recovery after weight training. A 28g serving (107 kcals) comes in with 22g protein and contains a great source of Branch Chain Amino Acids. Although relatively inexpensive, it is worth sourcing an organic product from a reputable company as many rice products are easily contaminated with heavy metal containing pesticides (arsenic being the worst offender).

Soy Protein

Soy Protein, probably thought of as the original plant protein, is complete in essential amino acids and high in BCAA’s. A 28g scoop has the lowest energy to protein ratio: 95kcals:22g protein per scoop. Soy products are a bit like marmite. In other words, you either love the or hate them. Soy has been given negative press as many products are genetically modified (especially from the US), soy may cause allergic reactions and has been accused of having negative health impacts in relation to breast cancer. Whether these allegations are true, soy has also been shown to protect against breast cancer due to the plant compounds (phytoestrogens) that it contains here in the UK, it is easy to get hold of non-GM crop sources.

Plant Protein Blends

As you have seen from some of the different plant protein sources available, they each have different properties and amino acid profiles. A way to get around this, or to get the best of all of them, is to use a protein powder blend. Manufacturers of protein blends may add ingredients to support the product’s digestion (making it more compatible with whey from an absorption point of view) such as plant enzymes (generally papaya) to make it easier to digest the product or even use more easily digested sprouted or fermented plant proteins. These may help to break down any phytates aka plant ‘anti-nutrients’ (which the plant would normally use to protect itself) which may interfere with absorption of amino acids, minerals and nutrients. Plant protein blends now come in many different flavours, are generally sweetened with stevia and may have other added nutritious boosts: probiotics, greens powders, superfoods etc.

With so many products now available on the market, here are a few brands worth considering:

  • Vega Organic and Informed Choice approved if you are competing
  • Revolution Foods UK based, Informed Choice approved and probably my favourite
  • Vivo Life Organic, tastes similar to Vega and Rev Foods but quite pricey
  • FormTastes good although quite expensive
  • Pulsin Another UK organic company who make some great blends and protein bars
  • My Vegan Geared more towards the mainstream, they create a reliable product without the price tag
  • Starks Fitness Local Bristol gym have had a great tasting vegan blend made up for them. Ellie will often do a bulk order so worth giving it a try!

It’s been a pleasure writing in the Lockdown newsletter and I am always happy to answer any questions you might have so feel free to get in touch with any questions or access to references.

Turnip bacon and gruyere gratin

Ever wandered how to make turnips supper sexy?? Well here is how. Try it!
Turnip bacon and gruyere gratin!
5 turnips, peeled
200g of smoked bacon
50g of butter
170ml of double cream
170ml of milk
20g of Parmesan, grated
20g of Gruyère, grated
1. Begin by frying the bacon cubes in a pan with the butter until crispy. Drain and set aside
2. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the turnips into discs roughly 3mm thick
turnips, peeled
3. Place the turnips into a small saucepan with the cream, milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, and set aside. Pour the liquid back into the pan and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
5. Neatly layer the turnip discs into a 20cm ovenproof dish, adding a sprinkle of bacon in between each layer
6. Pour over the milk and cream, then cover with the grated cheese
7. Bake in the oven for 25–35 minutes until golden and bubling and serve
Enjoy with chicken steak or roast pork or a vegetarian alternative!

Until Next Time, Big Love Team Valesco xxx

Save The Date

Save The Date

REOPENING 06062020

Who Wore It Best

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Here’s our top lockdown WWIB…2 of our fave gym dogs (not forgetting Leo) twinning in their harnesses!


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Valesco goes ONLINE!

Now, more than ever, is the time to move! So we are taking Valesco online to enable our current community and anyone wanting to join us to do just that. In a fun and inclusive environment, we bring you the very best of our training methodologies and community...ONLINE!