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PruHealth Vitality Experience - month 1 feedback thread with WEEKLY prizes for non participants.....

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AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Jan-14 09:58:48

You may recall we have recruited 10 willing volunteers to take part in the Mumsnet PruHealth Vitality Experience - this is running until mid March. This is the feedback thread for the participants to share their feedback with you all.

As PruHealth are so very keen for as many MNers as possible to experience the benefits offered by their Vitality programme each week there will be an incentive (see below for chance to win a £50 Nectar card) offered to non participants to read how the volunteers are getting on and to share your own tips, experiences and opinions. Bookmark this thread and keep an eye out for updates across the next few weeks....

PruHealth say "We believe the more you look after yourself, the healthier you feel. That's why we offer our customers Vitality when they buy our health insurance. Vitality is the world's largest incentive-based wellness programme and can make getting and staying healthy both easier and cheaper, but also reward you for all of your hard work!"

The Vitality Experience kicked off in style at PruHealth HQ in London on Friday 17th January. Here participants were given everything they need for the experience - including a Vitality Healthcheck, advice on healthy eating from a qualified nutritionist and an exercise plan designed by a personal trainer.

Each week participants will be presented with a new Vitality benefit - from earning additional Nectar points when you buy healthy foods at Sainsbury's, taking advantage of discounts at Virgin Active or treating the family to a trip to the cinema! Vitality aims to make healthy living fun, easy and rewarding.

Here's the full schedule of the Vitality Experience:

Week 1 - Get Gyming - Kick start your January resolutions with a free 2-month pass to a Virgin Active gym and £50 to spend on new gym gear at Sweatshop.
Week 2 - 5-a-Day - Get £50 worth of Nectar points to spend on healthy food choices at Sainsbury's.
Week 3 - Step It Up - Get motivated to increase your daily step count with your new FitBug pedometer.
Week 4 - Family Treat - Take the family out on a trip to the cinema with £40 worth of vouchers to either Cineworld or Vue cinemas.
Week 5 - Half-Term & Half-Time - Check in with your personal trainer for a free 1hr session to boost your gym routine.
Week 6 - Discounts Dispensed - Get £25 worth of vouchers to test drive our up to 50% cashback at Lloyds Pharmacy benefit.
Week 7 - Choose Your Reward - Take your pick between discounts to Merlin attractions, National Trust parks or travel with Eurostar, Mark Warner or Mr & Mrs Smith getaways.
Week 8 - Wrap Up - Finish the Vitality Experience with a day of pampering at Champney's spa.

Week 1 - Get Gyming
Vitality Experience Participants: please share on this thread:
How you found the welcome day - what did you enjoy, what worried you, how did you find meeting other MNers? Why did you want to take part? Pick three words to sum up the day.

Please share how you're getting on with the gym: have you been before? What did your family think / say? What did you buy with your Sweatshop voucher? How did you feel the next day? Do you think it's given you the push to start going regularly? How do you fit it into your schedule?

Non Participants - gyms and you - discuss!
Now that we're in the middle of January, how are your resolutions for a fitter 2014? Share your stories and thoughts about gyming and you and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £50 pre-loaded Nectar card (prize draw Monday 27th at 9am) NOW CLOSED

Week 2: - is all about healthy food choices (w/c 27-1). PruHealth with Vitality members can earn five times the amount of Nectar points they normally would by buying certain foods. As well they earn 1 Vitality point for each £2 is spent on healthy foods once they have linked their nectar card to their account.

Vitality Experience Participants - please share on this thread: At the welcome day you had a presentation from Sally Nash, the nutritionist with EnergiseYou -
~ What would you say was the key message you took away from her presentation and what did you learn?
~ What healthy foods have found their way into your trolley since then and what are you planning to buy this week with your Nectar card?
~ How's the rest of the programme going - we'd love to hear what you've done!

Non Participants - what's your best tip for including your 5-a-day in family meals? NOW CLOSED
~ Share your best tips for getting the 5-a-day into family meals or share a fruit or veg packed recipe on this thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £50 pre-loaded Nectar card NOW CLOSED

Week 3
The third week is about increasing the number of steps you take every day and finding ways to fit 'steps' around your lifestyle. PruHealth with Vitality members can earn points for the number of steps they take each day. Start earning once you've taken over 7,000 a day - the more steps, the more points.

Vitality Experience Participants: please share on this thread:

~ How are you getting on with your new FitBug pedometer?
~ How many steps are you taking each day? Does this surprise you? Disappoint you?
~ What tips can you share for increasing your steps per day.

Non Participants - what's your best tip for increasing the steps you take each day? Add your comment below to be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £50 pre-loaded Nectar card! Share your top tips for making it easy to get more steps into your daily life on this thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £50 pre-loaded Nectar card (prize draw Monday 10th Feb at 9am). NOW CLOSED

Week 4
Family Treat Week
PruHealth say "The very heart of Vitality is focussed on wellness and making healthy choices cheaper, easier and well-rewarding for our members. The weekly cinema ticket incentive is one of our most popular as it gives members the opportunity to treat themselves to a night at the cinema as a reward for their efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle. Small changes, big rewards."

Participants please share what film you are seeing or have seen with your Cineworld/ Vue voucher and what treats you like to enjoy generally with your family. How do you think the treat and reward element of the PruHealth with Vitality plan works?

Non participants...with half term coming up what treats do you have in store for your family? What are your families fav films?
~ Add your comment and you will be entered into a prize draw where one person will win a £50 preloaded Nectar card. Prize draw Monday 17 Feb at 9am. NOW CLOSED

Thanks and good luck

telsa Mon 20-Jan-14 11:48:00

Non Participants - gyms and you - discuss!

Well, I have never set foot in a gym, since school. I do miss those strange crumpety mats, but doubt they still exist. When the chance to win this PruHealth experience came up I looked into the Virgin gyms near me and was pretty impressed and almost tempted to join up, They looked like fun and funky and not too lyrca- and muscle-bound. I would join if I had more time to justify the expense. In any case, had an argument with partner yesterday and he brought up my overweightness, which I am well aware of. Since the New Year I have been watching what I eat closely. Taking the advice from Paul McKenna on the webchat - about mindful eating - I am trying to eat only when I feel hungry and am eating much more slowly. I hope this will make a difference. I walk to work, but my job is sedentary. I don't really feel I can face jogging or anything like that. I wish there was something active I loved doing and that I felt I had time to do it. One day I may try Pilates!

cather Mon 20-Jan-14 12:45:37

My New Year Resolution was to go for a walk every lunchtime instead of sitting at my desk and up to now I have managed it. I got a couple of colleagues to come along so now we have a brisk 30 minute walk and a good chat. I feel much better already and I don't get the mid afternoon slump like I used to.
I live in a rural area with no gyms so going to a gym means travelling 30 minutes so it isn't something I really have time to do

Willemdefoeismine Mon 20-Jan-14 13:46:15

Yikes the gremlins are in my machine today...I've just spent half an hour doing participant feedback and it's gone - GRRRR!

The welcome day was fabulous - there was so much positive energy coming from all the PruHealth Vitality employees that it was impossible not to be swept along with it! It was a breath of fresh air in so many ways!

I really enjoyed meeting Ann and Angelie from Mumsnet HQ and the other Mumsnetters too!

My three words for the day would be inspiring, positive and challenging!

I wanted to be involved because I am aware that I have slipped into sloppy habits (health, diet and exercise-wise) since having children. I was very lucky in my younger days to be very svelte and healthy without making any effort. I am still renowned for being hail and hearty but know that as one gets older one is living on borrowed time if one doesn't take a pro-active approach to all three. Prevention is better than cure and it's very much at the heart of the PruHealth Vitality ethos - and should be the way I move forward with living my life not only for myself but also as the mother of still relatively young (for my age) children.

I think that I've been quite conscious for a while that I needed to embrace healthier lifestyle choices and fortuitously the Vitality Experience arrived at an opportune moment for me :-)!

I will share the gym experience once my curve-enhancing (although maybe it should be hiding!) kit has arrived courtesy of Sweatshop! I opted for kit over trainers on the grounds that I own none of the former but do have a pair of very retro-vintage (almost) Nikes to which I'm very emotionally attached (although they have to date seen little active service!). My husband seems suspiciously silent on the whole idea of me 'gyming-it' but the children would love to come with me. I am not entirely a gym novice, having had membership before the DCs - I am looking forward to getting off the treadmill of life (temporarily) and discovering the running machine and possibly Pilates, yoga and zumba classes!

I am already religiously wearing my Fitbug and am pleased to see the evidence that I am not entirely a couch-potato! I did almost manage to put it into the washing machine having left it clipped onto my trousers - let that be a lesson to everyone!

Looking forward to hearing the experiences of the rest of the Vitality crew!

lorka Mon 20-Jan-14 16:35:55

Non tester - I am a member of a gym and hadn't been using it as much as I would like. I have however been trying really hard to fit it in and have managed 3 times weekly for last couple of weeks. I am already noticing the difference. I must keep it up!! grin

CMOTDibbler Mon 20-Jan-14 16:43:56

Non participant. I hate gyms, and only go if I'm staying in a hotel and want to run when its dark. I hate all the testosterone and flirting, and just want to get on with what I need to do.
Part of what makes running viable for me is getting out in the fresh air (a bit too fresh today tbh) and getting some head time.

My 2014 aims are at least two half marathons and my first ever sprint triathlon.

daisydaisy11 Mon 20-Jan-14 16:48:33

non tester. I used to find that I could motivate myself to get to the gym if I set myself a target of an hour in the gym followed by a relaxing swim/spell in the jacuzzi afterwards. I would visualize this part rather than slogging away on the machines when I was sat comfortably at home debating whether to give it a miss "just this once".

IncaAztec Mon 20-Jan-14 18:05:59

Non Participants - gyms and you - discuss!
Now that we're in the middle of January, how are your resolutions for a fitter 2014?

I'm doing well in terms of general fitness but struggling to get to the gym itself. I do however go to the pool quite a bit so guess that helps. I would really like to have a local decent gym to go to, however our town only seems to have the smaller body-building type ones. A more female friendly one with a pool and hot tub I would love.

CointreauVersial Mon 20-Jan-14 18:23:35

Ooh, shiny new thread. Lucky tester here, signing in for feedback...

I wanted to take part in order to give myself a New Year boost back into exercise and healthy living, and I was really keen to sample gym membership, something I've not had before, mainly because the DCs were too young to leave alone (they are now just about old enough for me to take off for a couple of hours, hallelujah). And I can't deny some of the other incentives played a part as well....

Pick three words to sum up the day? Hmmm......Informative, professional and fun.

I haven't ventured to the gym yet - I was a bit under the weather on Saturday after my unintentional hazelnut consumption and subsequent anaphylactic "episode", but I have scheduled visits for tomorrow and Thursday, and will report back......

I have had a look at the Sweatshop website, but am a little confused by the fact that the voucher says it can't be used online. That's not a major problem, because I will be able to visit a store at the weekend. I have a few thing in my virtual shopping basket - a new teeshirt for the gym, a long-sleeved top and possibly some new earphones for running, as mine have broken, and DH's make my ears hurt. I don't need shoes because I replaced my trainers just before Christmas.

I haven't broken out the Fitbug yet, but took a couple of little videos of myself before and after going for a run on Sunday. Complete with sweaty hair and glowing cheeks. Nice.

Bagtrainlady Mon 20-Jan-14 19:05:09

Marking place as have to put dc's to bed first!

CrewElla Mon 20-Jan-14 20:44:01

I miss working out hmm we can't afford a gym membership at the moment and we probably couldn't find the time due to the little ones being so full on.

I take the stairs up and down at work and the parking garage but that is about as much exercise as I get during the week. On the weekends we try to go for a hike on at least one day.

Audreyblue Mon 20-Jan-14 21:55:14

A very lucky participant here.

Firstly - the welcome day. I have to say it was a real eye-opening experience where I learnt a lot about exercise, fitness and most importantly nutrition. I also agree with Willemdefoeismine about all the positivity from the Pruhealth staff. They were so enthusiastic, down to earth and approachable. I felt totally at easy and really enjoyed the day. I was a bit apprehensive at first but everyone was really nice. The other MNers were all so friendly too. I wanted to take part because although I do a little exercise, I feel like I need to do a lot more. Since hitting the big 4-0 I know I need to take more care of myself. High blood pressure and diabetes runs in my family and I want to do my utmost to dispel this trait. Three words to sum up the day would be informative, positive and uplifting.

So I ventured out on my first visit to the gym this evening. I was very nervous as I haven't been in a gym for over 12 years (before I had kids) when I was slightly more svelte and confident about my body. My family were very encouraging. At first it was a bit intimidating as there were a lot of bodybuilder and gym bunny types but it wasn't too bad once I started on the running machine and bikes. I felt really good and energised afterwards and will definitely try and go about three times a week. As I work part-time I am hoping to go on my day off and possibly in the evenings and weekend. The classes look great too, so may try them too. The pool also looks very inviting, but one step at a time!

I haven't used my Sweatshop voucher yet as they can only be used in store and My nearest one is quite a distance away.

Once again, thanks to Mumsnet and Pruhealth Vitality for letting me take part in this trial. I am really enjoying it so far.

loopsngeorge Mon 20-Jan-14 22:06:09

Another lucky participant here! I really enjoyed the induction day - it was such a welcome break from everyday life. I remember thinking at one stage, I can't believe I'm sat here on a Friday afternoon having the luxury of discussing my nutritional needs and resistance training!

I too found the nutritionist very interesting, although predictably a lot of foods were mentioned that frankly I am never likely to enjoy eating. However, I am going to try using coconut oil and almond butter and more nuts and seeds.

I wanted to take part as I thought the sheer scale of what was being offered with all the different elements was fantastic. When I was younger i could eat what I liked without thinking about it and actually used to worry about being too thin. I still eat like this is the case, but now I've become more sedentary and noticed my weight creeping up, so I was keen to try and make some changes.

I'm going to try out the gym tomorrow - for a swim initially as that's what I'm used to doing, but I'm going to see what classes they have as well. I think the workout routine we went through is great and I can imagine fitting that in somewhere each day. My kids were intrigued by it!!
I will report back once I've tried the gym and used the Sweatshop voucher.
Oh and three words to describe the day - out of (the) ordinary!

Bagtrainlady Mon 20-Jan-14 22:21:02

I am another of the lucky 10!

I had a nightmare with trains, so did miss a chunk of the morning. The staff were very welcoming and were great about filling me in. Personally I was inspired by Sam, the personal trainer who gave us a work-out to go away and get on with. She looked amazing (rock-hard, flat abs a year after giving birth!) I am working my way up to a 30 second plank!

I am nervous about this as it truly is a challenge! My reasons for taking part are that similarly to Audrey I have hit my 40's and I want to be fitter and healthier. Also, corny as it may seem, I want to be a good role model to my 8yo DD and 2yo DS - couch potato mummy is not a good look!

I have signed up to the gym and my induction is booked for Friday. The staff at the Virgin Active in Nottingham have been really welcoming. I will be going tomorrow night whilst DD is at Brownies (got to fit sessions in where you can!) for my first session. I am also signing my dc's up to the gym whilst I am a member there. DS can swim & use the creche, whilst DD can take part in age appropriate classes and hopefully get her swim band to swim on her own - which she feels very grown up and excited about.

If I actually remember my voucher tomorrow I will be shopping at the Sweatshop that is housed in the gym!

CheeseTMouse Mon 20-Jan-14 22:21:05

Non tester: one of the things that went when I was pregnant was my gym membership. I found I wasn't using it enough to justify the expense - added to the fact I own a bike and row.

However, I have found that since being on maternity leave I have been able to do more exercise than I anticipated. I have been doing drop in outdoor fitness classes with the buggy, long long walks and on the weekend have been able to get on the river - provided I am organised with feeding. The key thing for me at the moment is to find a way of exercising with or around my daughter and the flexibility that requires. I do miss the gym, however, think it might be a while before I am able to consider joining again.

Stripytop Mon 20-Jan-14 22:25:51

I would like to say a huge thankyou to Annemumsnet and Team for selecting me for this experience. It's a great opportunity for me to get my fitness back on track and now my children are 8 and 10 maybe even prioritise my own needs a bit for a few months.

Friday was definitely information overload, but having had all weekend to get process everything, I'm really looking forward to the challenges.
I'm still picking information and gadgets out of my goody bag to examine and play with. The Biometric testing was really useful for me. It was good to have an accurate starting point with measurable targets to work towards. It was also a relief, with nothing too scary in the results.
The nutritional advice was really inspiring as I have lots of bad habits to change, but we were shown how to tackle bad habits and turn them into good ones by making three small changes and sticking to it for a month.
I have fell in love with my pedometer. I've only been using it a few days, but I get such a buzz reaching the 10,000 steps mark each day. I think it will be a challenge on the days I work though.
Before the welcome day, I had concerns that I might feel a little isolated and give up before the end of the experience, but it was great to meet other Mumsnetters, they were such a lovely bunch and I really feel as though I'm part of a team! There is also a great level of support from Pruhealth and Mumsnet too.

In summary, my three words are:

Exciting, motivating, challenge!

(fellow testers - sorry but I've name changed again Clue's in the name)

PepeLePew Mon 20-Jan-14 22:39:23

I have a Jawbone UP thingy which I got for Christmas. Really motivating - I am a pretty diligent gym goer (thanks PruHealth - love the Virgin discount!) but the Jawbone has really inspired me to walk more. I'm now doing 10,000 +
steps every day which I certainly wasn't before, and I can see the difference. I took the children swimming yesterday (to the Virgin pool which they love) and was inspired to run there while they cycled as I knew I wouldn't hit my target otherwise....previously we'd have gone in the car (it's about 1.5 miles away).

Stripytop Mon 20-Jan-14 22:47:55

Bagtrainlady - getting the DC's their own memberships is a great idea. Think mine would love that and I'm sure that would help me use it more. Will look into that when I join. Was hoping to go today, but didn't make it, so hopefully tomorrow.

Patilla Mon 20-Jan-14 23:41:25

non participant here <nurses sore spot>

So I haven't got massively far with my resolutions for fitness but I did start a fitness class today but taking DD aged 9 months was a challenge to say the least.

My abdominals are incredibly weak after two c sections and spd issues so my concerns are to take it slowly and not injure myself but that comes at a cost in terms of only really feeling confident with an instructor.

I've managed to pay for four post natal classes but after that it will have to be exercise DVDs with care and fingers crossed.

In the past when we had the disposable incomes to fund a gym membership I've generally enjoyed it and enjoyed fitting it into our time as part of our lifestyles - so Saturday morning DH and I would trundle off do some gym stuff (I would sometimes swim) and then meet for brunch at the gym cafe. Oh the days of leisurely brunches.

I've not had a membership since having DC but would love to be able to model and active lifestyle but do it as a family. At present one of us tends to take one of the kids somewhere and watches while they do sports.

Unfortunately for us, DC and gym memberships have proved to be mutually exclusive and I don't think we are unusual in that respect.

Now that we're

Kewcumber Mon 20-Jan-14 23:54:38


How you found the welcome day - what did you enjoy, what worried you, how did you find meeting other MNers? Why did you want to take part? Pick three words to sum up the day

I LOVED the welcome day. It felt very decadent talking and thinking about myself nearly all day! The staff really seemed to beleive in the Vitality approach which rubbed off on me... it gave me a real incentive to think that maybe I could make a difference in only 2 months despite being (by a Loooong way) the unfittest person there (will be building up my plank from 3 seconds...)

I was worried about being the unfittest and most overweight (which I was) but really no-one else cared. Which is really what I knew would be the case but you still have to worry don't you!

Other mumsnetters were lovely as they aleays are when I meet them - it doesn;t seem possible but they're always nice and *normal on the surface

I lost a lot of weight a few years ago and its crept back on slowly - I need to stop the rot and this seemed the ideal way of doing it.

I'm a bit concerned about the gym - not exactly gym material... but I like acqua classes so perhaps I'll start with that. As I can;t get to the gym until Weds earliest I got out the fitbug and started it off and am horrified to discover that despite a 1 hour dog walk (and pushing my sisters wheel chair) I made it to about 3000 steps today shock

DS is thrilled with our new healthy eating approach (likes to consider himelf a bit of a sportsman) and wants to help me cook every night... to be continued when I get to spend my Sainsubry's points.

Willemdefoeismine Tue 21-Jan-14 07:47:25

Hi the DC membership is a brilliant idea - how much would that cost for two (I know that prices may vary across the UK)??

If it's any consolation, Kewcumber after quite an active day on Saturday, I stayed in all day on Sunday and seemed to have only clocked about 1000 steps! Made up for it yesterday though with 17,000!!! BUT it just does go to show that a couple of days of inertia keeping the house in order grin can really rock a fitness regime! Over Christmas we seemed to have loads of stay-at-home wonder the girth started spreading...

I found it really easy to use my Sweatshop voucher online (but didn't need to buy shoes/trainers so maybe that was why I found it relatively straightforward)....but it all seems a blur now, so not sure that I could usefully talk anyone thro' doing it - I certainly went to the site via PruHealth Vitality - it seems to connect the two....

Willemdefoeismine Tue 21-Jan-14 08:07:46

Oh and I'm busy embracing dietary improvements left, right and centre. The DCs loved the brown rice so that was a very easy for the whole family...I'm finding not eating cheese (my big vice) quite difficult though....I'm on the almond milk, eating oats for breakfast and nuts as snacks.....(polishes halo whilst dreaming of cheese on an oatcake...).

I was rather aghast at £6 for a small jar of Coconut Oil on the Waitrose website....I guess it's not that much more expensive (by £3 or so....) than goose fat......

Bagtrainlady Tue 21-Jan-14 08:48:11

At the Nottingham gym it's £12 per month for dd who is 8 and £5 for ds who is 2, plus crèche fees as and when I book him in.
Also if they are 8+ & pass the swim test they get a red band which allows them to use the pool by themself while you work out in the gym.

Punkatheart Tue 21-Jan-14 09:01:33

Non-participant. Gyms are not for me - or I have never found one that feels like fun. I joined Pineapple in London, bought all the gear and never went. It just feels like too much work and a lot of it is designed to make you feel guilty about - well about everything.

Very interesting reading about the volunteers' experiences though...

tinypumpkin Tue 21-Jan-14 11:26:06

I am not a gym lover. I have started the couch to 5K though and I actually am really enjoying it (and sticking to it!) I am truly amazed. It's now couch to 10K as I have registered for the 10K in May. Words that I never thought I would ever utter with regard to myself.

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