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Actress Lindzi Germain talks of meltdown that inspired award-winning Fitness Bingo for women

2 months ago

By The Guide Liverpool

Actress Lindzi Germain talks of meltdown that inspired award-winning Fitness Bingo for women

With her self-awarded title Merseymouth Lindzi Germain is far from shy and retiring, but the Liverpool actress recalls how she panicked and broke down in a city gym.

Lindzi, who’s currently starring in The Scouse Dick Whittington at the Royal Court, says she was left a quivering wreck after being suddenly faced with fellow fitness members.

“I just completely fell apart,” she says. “It was horrendous. I had been having one-to-one sessions alone with my personal trainer, Jay Harris in lockdown, but then when it lifted I walked in to this massive studio space towards a class with people who didn’t look like me… and I started having a huge panic attack – one of the symptoms of peri-menopause which I’m still going through.

“I literally couldn’t breathe, I just had to get out, and then I couldn’t stop crying.”

Lindzi, 51, was supported by Jay – ‘this young lad with a halo over his head’ – who grabbed her hand and guided her out.

“And we sat in my car while I sobbed.”

But that harrowing moment led to many better ones – and the launch of a Fitness Bingo exercise class for women suffering from the physical and mental effects of the menopause and perimenopause which recently took the title of Best Fitness Class at the British Fitness Awards.

Fitness Bingo is a unique women’s fitness class that incorporates bingo with various exercises and, as Jay calls out the numbers, members perform different exercises from boxing to press ups and more.

Jay Harris

“I try and make it fun,” says Jay, co-owner of Crew42 in King Edward Street. “We have cheesy music from the 90s, we dance – and there are prizes like wine and PJs.   

“It combines the thrill of a bingo game with the benefits of a workout, making fitness not just about sweat but also about enjoyment.”

Jay goes on to explain: “Lindzi was upset and struggling with her self-esteem, and intimidated by other people in the gym, but that’s not what we want here. It’s a really friendly place, and we want women, everyone, to feel comfortable to come in and leave with a smile on their face.

“Lindzi explained to me how the menopause and perimenopause can affect women with physical and mental symptoms, so I went away and researched it.

“I used to do Fitness Bingo for kids when I was a PE teacher in a primary school and I thought why not try it for these women, for adults.  And it’s gone really well.”

More than two years ago, Lindzi also started the Facebook group Peri/Meno Queens – offering support, advice and, above all, a laugh for women who are going through the hot sweats, sleepless nights, and brain fog of ‘the change’ – when she started to go through it herself.

She was shocked at the number and severity of symptoms that can strike: “For a couple of years I’d been having a few things happening, like dizziness which I put down to vertigo, and brain fog.

“One day I was looking at my husband and wondering what I called him, was it Darren or Daz? So I asked my daughter to pass something to her ‘dad’.  I got upset because I couldn’t remember what I called him!

“It was when I watched the Davina McCall documentary, Sex, Myths and the Menopause, that I realised what it was.”

Within three weeks of it starting in June 2021 the group had 1,400 members – now it has more than 7,500!

“I talked to Jay abut how the gym can be daunting and how women my age can wonder what the point of going to the gym is,” says Lindzi. “And we looked at putting a class together, with things like squats rather than running which can adversely impact a woman’s body, and that’s when he suggested Fitness Bingo.

“At first I said it had to be for Peri/Meno Queens, but now it’s open to all women after so many loved it they wanted to bring along their daughters, or their cousins. We had eight people at the first session – and it’s just grown.

“Jay is fantastic.  We exercise and we have a right laugh, and it has become a community of women that comes together every Wednesday night. Women can talk about the side effects of menopause, the insecurity, the anxiety, the panic attacks and everything else, they share; and they can also give each other advice about things that have worked for them.

“They have parties and nights out.  When Jay won the award the first thing he did was show it to the women!”

Lindzi, who now runs her own nutrition group, CNC Nutrition Liverpool, with husband Darren to support health and weightloss, adds: “I feel so proud to have inspired this group, and of Jay who is such an understanding and genuine person.

“Fitness Bingo is like therapy, and it’s amazing.”

Fitness Bingo is held every Wednesday at 7.30pm at Crew42. Anyone interested can just drop in or, to find out more, go to www.crew42gym.com or call Jay on 07815 615091.

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