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Hey Team and welcome to September’s newsletter for everything Valesco.


Happy 8th Birthday to us is the headline we are going with this month and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been in this incredible journey with us be it past and present. You lot really are what make Valesco so amazing and we feel honoured and privileged to be a part of your fitness journey. It was so lovely to see so many of you at the Birthday mini in-house comps at both sites and out for a few drinks in town afterwards.


Check out the dates for your diary section as we have added a fair few first dates for 2024 and we would love to get them in your diary ASAP and have you join us on as many as possible, we love seeing you guys both inside and outside of the gym.


Right that enough of the soppy stuff, time to get on introducing this months newsletter.


We have an awesome piece in coaches corner from new Coach Thea and it’s all about handstands and we think that’s no surprise to anyone. We swear she is upside down more than the right way up showing that practise does make perfect


Talking of Thea she has also been part of a meet the coach PODCAST with James and its well worth a listen…. maybe we should call this addition the September Thea-letter instead? LOL.


New to the newsletter is a wonderful piece from Lucie Peters who is our fantastic in-house Sports Rehabilitator all about Soft tissue injury and is well worth a read to brush up on your knowledge to keep our bodies in tip top condition.


We hope you are enjoying the new block of training and there is certainly a buzz in classes at the moment and we absolutely love it, we are as excited for part two of this block as you guys are.


Anyhow, on with the newsletter.


Keep working hard, supporting each other and making Valesco the awesome place that it is.


Lots of love and positive vibes,

Amy, Ellie and Leila xx



Welcome to the monthly Member Shout out section where we like to celebrate some of the good things we see in the gym day in and day out.


Shout out from Coach Thea – V1 member Maddie Pearce ‘she always works super hard and is improving in so many areas, pushing herself with the barbell weight, all her gymnastics like toes to bar and handstand walking! Always lovely to have her in class and she’s super lovely to everyone else too!’

Shout out from Coach Amy V2 – All V2 12 month members – ‘Just want to give a group shout out to all the V2 OG crew who have been with us for a whole 12 months. Its been so great to see them all come off the first intro courses and develop over the 12 months and see what commitment and regular training has done physically and for the awesome community they have developed outside the gym too.’

Shout out from Coach Leila to Emma Goy at V1 ‘for building an epic engine, always turning up with a smile and being super super consistent in her training’

Shout out from Coach James – V1 member Tamsin Tranter. ‘I imagine – and I could be wrong – that it would have been quite daunting joining a gym and a community that Martin was already firmly a part of but she got herself involved, has been really consistent, works super hard and moves really well! She’s already come such a long way since she’s joined and I personally always enjoy having Tamsin in a class. Who’s my favourite Tranter? It’s a close race…’

Shout Out from Coach Ellie to V1 member Amy Cook! ‘Amy has been super consistent since joining us, she’s a pleasure to coach and is always super lovely to everyone in her class. Taking on board coaching she receives and focusing on moving well before trying to lift heavy load is paying dividends!’

Shout out from Coach Maddie to Endika Arquero Ugarte from V2– ‘always great to have in class and the progress he’s made from being consistent with classes is really showing’


Werbs wipe out


DID YOU KNOW THAT EACH SITE HAS ITS OWN MEMBERS FB GROUP? They are awesome little places to ask questions, find out information or just share funny memes or moments from the gym. If you aren’t a member but would like to be please follow this link and request access.

V1 – St Philips

V2 – St Werburghs

Class Reservations and block booking… 

It’s great that so many of you want to come and train and we love to see busy classes, however late cancellation and no shows aren’t cool and we would like it to stop.

Please only book the class or Open Gym slot you genuinely know that you are going to attend rather than reserving a space just in case you might. Very few classes are actually fully utilised when it comes to the start of the class but we have several waitlists per week. If everyone only booked the class then KNOW they are going to attend we are confident waitlists would be a thing of the past.

This is an issue we are facing this issue at both sites and we need a behaviour change before we are forced to take further action by either increasing fines or restricting the booking availability to the day of the class.

We are also keeping an eye on member data including where people are block booking and cancelling (even within the cancellation period) and those late cancelling and no showing. So please help us help you all by only booking the classes (and Open Gym slots) that you know you WILL be attending.

Muddy Boots

Please be aware of your footwear when you come into the gym. We work extremely hard to keep both spaces clean and free of dirt for you all to train in and we need your help and support to keep it that way please.

We are aware of the issue that has happened by the cycle parking at V1 with the drain overflowing and it is being addressed – please try not to walk through the mud when locking up your bike and walk round it instead.

If you do notice a mess in the space that you have been using please don’t be embarrassed to ask the coach to give you the tools to clean it up. Thanks in advance for the help and support in keeping the gym floor sparkling.

Parking Wars

Parking at both sites is in demand at certain times of the day so please do your best to park sensibly and leave your car at home as much as possible. If there isn’t space directly outside either unit before 5.30pm please consider parking a bit further away and walking in. Around V1 there are lots of one-hour stay bays just up the road and by V2 there is plenty of off road parking before the entrance of the trading estate just around the road (think along the 400m run route). It’s all extra steps and movement.



Soft tissue injury can be lengthy and complexed….unfortunately and they do not go away over night. A therapist, however “expert” they claim to be, cannot make injury go away with treatment alone and there is so much advice on how to look after injury in the initial stages that I thought you may like some up to date information on what you need to do to manage soft tissue injury.

The ol’ classic of RICE was developed many years ago, but is still the favoured method of injury management used by many and worryingly still recommended by some practitioners. In 2019 (so still not that recent) PEACE & LOVE was introduced with the idea of the importance of addressing many areas to enhance recovery.

As with all injury, try to avoid consulting Dr Google and speak to a qualified healthcare professional. Everyone has their own preference on treatment and what works so it is important to find the right one for you.



Yep…in case you didn’t know WE HAVE A PODCAST!

On it we talk about all things from training to room 101, rowing the Atlantic to pregnancy, men’s mental health to habit forming…. and the list goes on.

James Iles and Ellie host the podcast, which regularly features guests (including coaches, members and lots of other interesting people we think having a chat with will benefit you) and each month the topic changes!

The first of our two latest podcast is out now and Eoin Everard who is an elite level athlete in the world of running joins us! He is the current 35+ 3000m champion and has run a mile in sub 4 minutes!  The podcast is super interesting as Eoin talks us through how to optimise training (for all of us, not just the elites), the importance of mobility and how to avoid common injuries…and loads more.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Eoin Everard; Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity

And we have sneaked an extra one in the month with meet the Coach Thea.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Meet our newest coach Thea

Aaaaand we would love to know what you want to hear us talking about next! Fill out the (very) brief questionnaire below and have your say :)

Tell us what to talk about

For now, have a lovely day!


Deload week

Sooo how do you like the totally new block?? Hopefully you have enjoyed lots of new and exciting movements and are getting to grips with cross overs, Overhead Squats and Handstand walking!

We love programming lots of variety and helping you develop new skills as well as throwing around some heavy barbells (with good form) and generally having a ton of fun with all things fitness!

The current block as a reminder or for those new to us looks like this:

Monday: Power cleans and Zombie squats! Our focus on the Power clean is going to be barbell cycling and volume! And the zombie squats are going to be a great accessory and really support the Squat Cleans that will follow in the 2nd half of the cycle, coming soon! On Mondays you can expect to find shorter, sharper workouts as you’ll have already worked super hard in your class.

Tuesday: Push Jerks and press accessories so we can work on some higher skill overhead movements and still work on our overhead strength at the same time.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays there will be longer workouts alternating with a skill section and a shorter metcon.  As with the Double-unders and Pistols from the last block we will alternate between Overhead squats (keeping them light and working on form to begin with) and Crossovers! Can you learn to Double-under Crossover over the next few weeks?!

Wednesday:  Metcon Mayhem of course! But, instead of working on speed and power we are focusing on Zone 2 work – think long cruisy workouts at a steady pace! Zone 2 training is essential for aerobic development, but it also helps you improve your body’s energy efficiency, prevent injury & improve recovery…so when your coaches tell you to not hit the workout too hard you need to heed their advise if you want to reap the benefits!

Thursday: As well as our alternating skills and longer workouts we’re going to be looking at Handstand press ups AND handstand walking as our gymnastic focus for this block.  BUT worry not – we know being upside down feels really scary and a long way off for some of you but as with everything we do, no matter your skill level and confidence we can give you scaled options that provide the same stimulus without the scary upside down bit! And if you want to learn how to be happy upside down we can’t wait to teach you!

Friday: Deadlift are BACK! But not as you’ve seen them before.  In this first half of this block we’re going to be looking as high volume with max efforts at specific %’s – a fantastic way to increase muscle mass (and muscular endurance) ready for the 2nd half of the block where we make that posterior chain reeeeeal strong! And, as always, Fridays are finished with a partner WOD so grab your training buddy and be sure to get booked in on Fridays!

Weightlifting classes: Snatch! So if you’re just stating to get the hang of snatching on Mondays worry not… you can continue to work on snatch in weightlifting classes.

Gymnastic classes: Kipping and butterfly pull ups are on the menu and even if you don’t yet have them you can come along and start learning the technique and continue building the strength you have been working on in Thursdays classes.

We are super excited about this block with loads of new skills to learn and massive fitness gains to be had!!  As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask your coaches, they love to talk about this stuff and even more they love to help you achieve whatever goals you have!


Leo's newsletter June 22

Hey Pup fans,

Welcome back to pup corner where this month the Ginger Ninja Leo wanted to share some great advice if you are struggling to get back into a routine now that summer has passed.

I for one am a creature of habit. I eat, stretch, sniff, sleep and repeat And it absolutely works for me. However summer is always a busy few months. Parties, holidays, music events, kids off school. You name it; it all goes on during July, August and September.

It’s easy to fall off the bandwagon and getting back into routine can feel difficult.

Follow my top tips to help you get back into those healthy habits!

1) Take baby steps.

Maybe don’t throw yourself straight into 4-5 classes per week. Take a steadier approach back to training if you have missed a few weeks consistently. Let your body adjust and more importantly let your body recover after.

2) Set yourself up for success.

If getting back to regular a class is a goal try and sort your clothes out the night before. Or if getting back into a healthier diet is what you’re after, try to be as organised as possible. Prep food in advance and try to not wait until you’re feeling hungry.

3) Stick with the healthy basics. 

Eat well. Train with purpose. Allow ample recovery. SLEEP!

4) Plan ahead. 

Write it down in a calendar or get an app. Structure your time over the next few weeks. Plan out meal prep time, workout time and hanging out with people you care about. Not forgetting to make time for and indulge in some high quality self care.

5) Make sleep a priority. (I am very!! good at this)

Try to go to bed and wake at the same time each day. Avoid screen time right before bed. If eating late at night messes with your quality of sleep try to plan to eat a little earlier in the evening.

6) Put something in the calendar to look forward to.

There’s nothing like anticipating a great day to get you motivated through the not-so-great days.

7) Make it a group effort.

Check in regularly with your loved ones and help to keep each other accountable. Plan to go to the same class or get a few socials in the diary. Everything is more fun when you do it with friends.

8) Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit bleurgh after the summer months, stick with it and don’t worry if you find it hard to get back into routine or snooze your alarm one too many times. Be kind to yourself. You’ll be back where you want to be soon enough.

Big Licks and Sniffs,

The Ginger Ninja aka Leo dog!


Thea Handstands

This months Coaches Corner is written by new Coach Thea and it’s all about getting comfortable upside down.


Handstand Walking: Building Your Confidence Upside Down

Handstand walking is an exhilarating and challenging skill that many starting in their functional fitness journey aspire to conquer. While it may seem daunting at first, with the right approach and plenty of practice, you can build the confidence needed to master this impressive gymnastics skill. In this month’s Coaches Corner, we’ll focus on helping beginners take their first steps toward handstand walking and feeling confident upside down.

Handstand walking is a dynamic and challenging skill that has become a staple in Functional Fitness and increasingly common in competitions. It not only showcases your strength and balance but also adds an element of fun and athleticism to your training routine.

The Benefits of Handstand Walking in Functional Fitness

Before diving into the technical aspects of handstand walking, let’s explore why this skill is so valuable in the world of Functional Fitness:

Core Strength: Handstand walking requires a strong core to maintain balance and stability. It engages your entire midsection, helping you develop a rock-solid core.

Upper Body Strength: The act of supporting your body weight on your hands builds upper body strength, especially in the shoulders, triceps, and chest.

Balance and Coordination: Handstand walking challenges your balance and coordination, enhancing your overall athleticism.

Skill Progression: As you progress in handstand walking, you’ll develop skills that transfer to other movements, such as handstand push-ups and freestanding handstands.

Mental Toughness: Mastering handstand walking requires mental fortitude. Overcoming the fear of falling and the patience to practice will boost your mental resilience.

Getting Started

Now that you understand the benefits, let’s begin your handstand-walking journey:

Master the Handstand

Before you can walk on your hands, you must be comfortable in a handstand. Here’s how to get there:

  • Start facing a wall with your hands about shoulder-width apart on the floor, just in front of the wall.
  • Strong kick up with one leg at a time until your heels touch the wall, whilst keeping your arms strong and elbows locked out.
  • Focus on keeping your core tight, pushing up through the shoulders with straight legs.
  • Gradually reduce your reliance on the wall by bringing one foot away from the wall at a time, attempting to balance freestanding.

Work on Shoulder Mobility

Good shoulder mobility is crucial for handstand walking. Incorporate shoulder stretches and exercises into your warm-up to improve flexibility and range of motion.

Build Strength

Strengthening your upper body and core is essential. Incorporate exercises such as dish and arch holds, overhead plate holds, handstand holds against the wall, scapula and pike push ups to build the necessary strength.

Practice Kicking Up

Start with small kicks to develop control. Gradually increase the height of your kicks until you are consistently kicking straight up to vertical.

Find Your Balance

Learning to balance in a handstand is a skill in itself. Practice holding the handstand position for as long as possible. Remember to maintain a tight core and avoid excessive arching or hollowing of your back.

Handstand Walking Tips

Once you’ve mastered the handstand and built the necessary strength and balance, it’s time to progress to handstand walking:

Short Steps

Take small, controlled steps with your hands. Focus on maintaining your balance and rhythm.


Head Position

Unlike headstands or handstand push ups where the top of your head is making contact with the floor or mat, you are looking straight through your arms, when handstand walking you want to adjust your head position so that you are looking at your hands. This will help you maintain balance and stay on course/see if you’re going to bump into anything.

Falling Practice

Learn to fall safely. Practicing falling will help you overcome the fear of tumbling over. Start by forwards rolling out of your handstands by tucking your chin to your chest and rolling onto your shoulders to protect your neck.

Spotting and Partner Drills

Enlist the help of a coach or training partner to spot you during practice.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Handstand walking is all about practice. Dedicate time in your training sessions to work on this skill. Consistency is key to improvement.

Be Patient

Remember that progress takes time. Celebrate small victories along the way, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks.

Seek Guidance

Ask for feedback from a coach. As most of you know, I’m usually upside down whilst not coaching at the gym, so please never be hesitant to ask me about handstands. Videoing to watch yourself back can also be super useful to check all your shapes and positions.

Building confidence in handstand walking is a gradual process, especially for beginners. Embrace each step of your journey and savour the small wins. The key is to practice regularly, stay patient, and believe in yourself. Remember that progress may be slow, and there will be moments of frustration, but with dedication and practice, you will gain confidence in your ability to balance on your hands upside down. You’ll not only improve your handstand walking but also your overall athleticism and mental resilience. So, kick up, find your balance, trust the process, and most importantly, have fun!


Screenshot 2023-10-05 at 18.58.10

Creamy Courgette Lasagne

With the nights drawing in and the temperate starting to drop, this month we have included and Autumn classic from BBC good food and this really is a filling and heating option as we all try and leave the hearing off for as long as possible.

Serve this quick, creamy courgette & ricotta lasagne for a last-minute dinner party to impress vegetarian friends. It’s a great way to use courgettes when they’re in season. Its easily halved and easily doubled so suitable for all households.


Until Next Time, Big Love Team Valesco xxx

Save The Date

Save The Date

Christmas at VFC – Friday 8th December (please note the change to Friday this year)

Members Social (Full details TBC but don’t worry it will be indoors) – Saturday 27th January

Strength In Depth Finals weekend – Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th February

Scale It Up Triple Threat – Sunday 28th April

Valesco Spring Social Dog Walk – Saturday 18th May

Scale it Up Four of a Kind – Sunday 23rd June

PRIDE WOD and March – Saturday 13th July

Valesco 9th Birthday – Saturday 14th September

Who Wore It Best

September WWIB

Check out this month ‘Who Wore It Best’ from Simone and Ella, really styling it out on that bench, even if not much working out seems to be happening.

Have you turned up looking the same as another Valesco member? Then we want to see. Send your snaps to to be in the next newsletter. We love seeing them!