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As a strength and fitness coach for premiership footballers and Olympic gold medallists like Taekwondo star Jade Jones, Neil Parsley is used to keeping the UK’s top athletes fit and healthy.
But now the Wirral trainer is planning to use his 25 years’ experience to get families across Merseyside off the couch and into a regular fitness routine with his new daily YouTube channel.
Family Fitness TV will take mums, dads and kids through their paces live at 9am, Monday to Friday, with all the sessions saved for those who miss them – or who want to do them again.
Neil, 46, from West Kirby, explains: “I’ve had the idea for the channel for a while but lockdown finally inspired me to get it off the ground because, while we’re all in isolation, keeping active is more important than ever.
“It helps to relieve the boredom but, more, it releases those endorphins to make us feel happier and lift our mood, it gets the blood flowing round the body, it gives us more energy – and it keeps or gets us fitter and healthier.”
And he adds: “As well as all those benefits, it’s a bonding experience, getting the family working out and doing more together, which is great.”
Neil has worked as a gym instructor, at home PT, and strength and conditioning coach for a host of top athletes, and used to work for Manchester City Football Club. He now has his own gym – Underground Training Station – and is a consultant, giving advice and fitness support to the likes of the Football Association and two premiership players among others.
He is also a husband and dad – which is why his 30-minute sessions get everyone in his household involved, from firefighter wife Louise, to children Josh, 13; Alfie, 11, and Poppy, nine.
Every session has a theme from superheroes to speed (Usain Bolt Be Fast) and the idea is to create constant variety to maintain interest and enthusiasm.
“I’m trying to get the fit fitter and get kids and parents who don’t do anything get moving,” says Neil.
“I have always trained with my kids and I want to train other people out there to do the same.
“Each session will vary according to the number of exercises and durations, and structure, but as an example, a session might include a good warm up, and then two sets of 10 exercises where we do 30 seconds’ work and 30 seconds’ rest.
“I link them to different sports to keep things interesting and do different squats, lunges and jumps. It’s amazing how you can vary things.”
Neil has also produced shorter clips which give ideas of fun things to do in the garden – like noughts and crosses with sticks and socks, and different challenges everyone can get involved with.
The focus now is indoor fitness but, after lockdown, Neil plans to keep Family Fitness TV going, combining workouts with health tips, cooking with recipes the kids can try and adventure days out: “Just different ideas and ways that families can be fitter and healthier,” he adds.
“With most families, they want to do things, it’s just having the ideas and knowing what to to and, hopefully, that’s where I can help.”
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