'Strength and Flex made me a better runner'

Cliff Hobby

Father-of-two Cliff Hobby started Strength and Flex and Couch to 5K as a way to get back into regular exercise.

He did Strength and Flex every other day and found that the five-week programme really improved his running.

Below, the IT manager from Alton in Hampshire, talks about his experience of progressing through the Strength and Flex podcasts.

"Strength & Flex has helped keep me free from injury since starting running."

Cliff Hobby

Where did you find out about Strength and Flex?

I found Strength and Flex on the NHS Choices website when I was looking for a way back in to regular exercise midway through 2013. It seemed quite straightforward and I liked the podcast approach, with coach Laura guiding you through each week.


How active were you before starting the plan?

Before Strength and Flex, my exercise had been mostly bike rides, walking and swimming at weekends, plus some weight training  but it was patchy, and I wanted something that I could follow more regularly and that would improve my overall fitness.


Why did you decide to get more active?

I realised that I ought to be much more active than I was, and that it was up to me to do something about it. I spend a lot of time working and found that I didn't have as much time or energy for other things, and wanted to change that. I enjoy sport and wanted to improve my fitness, as well as lose a little weight.


Where do you do Strength and Flex?

I'm lucky enough to have the space to complete Strength and Flex indoors, and although the pull-ups took a bit of lateral thinking, most of the exercises are simple enough to do inside.


Do you ever feel self-conscious exercising in public?

I haven't completed Strength and Flex outside yet, but I've never felt self-conscious about exercising outdoors. It's something I enjoy and it’s improving my health, plus there are plenty of other runners and cyclists around.


Has your health improved since starting Strength and Flex?

I've noticed a real improvement in my overall health since starting Strength and Flex, and also Couch to 5K. I have much better stamina, more energy, have lost weight and generally feel more alert. I've also developed more of an interest in my own health and wellbeing.


Has Strength and Flex helped your running?

I have gone from not running at all to now regularly running distances that I used to find challenging to complete on a bike. I find cycling much easier too, and have the confidence to tackle longer distances for both, with a marathon on the horizon for 2015. I know from experience that if I have completed Strength and Flex regularly, running will be a little easier, and the Strength and Flex stretches have helped keep me free from injury since starting.


What do you like most about Strength and Flex?

Strength & Flex was a great way to get back into regular exercise and is something that I can complete in my own time. The exercises are really straightforward, yet you still feel like you have achieved something at the end of a session.


Did you find the Strength and Flex exercises challenging?

I think it was more about the challenge of completing the five weeks, as I had tried other programmes before and not really stayed the course. One or two of the exercises make you realise how unfit you really are to start with, but it's good as you can see yourself progressing over the five weeks.


Do you still do Strength and Flex?

I still use the week five podcast from Strength and Flex on non-running days, and it seems like a good warm up now, which I guess shows my fitness has improved since starting it! 

Page last reviewed: 26/06/2014

Next review due: 26/06/2017


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