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Getting into fitness - why - how

What exactly is Fitness? Larousse defines this term as a “set of fitness activities including bodybuilding, stretching and cardio-training” . These days, you see it everywhere: from CrossFit ® to the gym, from the beaches of Los Angeles to the Swedish Gym . This sport – of American origin – has continued to evolve and diversify to meet ever-increasing expectations from novices, more and more of them every day “getting into fitness”, as well as initiated ones.

The variety is such that you can get lost. Especially when you decide to “go for it”. This is why the #TeamStimium experts have developed this Fitness guide to help you see things more clearly and make the right choices.

The importance of Fitness, from the sedentary to the seasoned athlete

1) The origins of Fitness

Fitness, created at the end of the 1960s by the American doctor and lieutenant-colonel Kenneth Cooper, had the original objective of strengthening the body and keeping it in shape. His work, “Aerobic”, laid the foundations of the discipline which was then popularized by Jane Fonda through “Work Out”, her television show during the 70s. Around ten years later, in France, Véronique and Davina popularized this new sport with Gym Tonic every Sunday morning on television.

As Fitness has evolved, Aerobics has become one of the disciplines of this sport whose primary objectives remain:

  • Losing weight

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  • Refine the silhouette and draw the muscles

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Sculpt your body / Regenerate your muscles / Lose fat mass

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  • Improve your cardiovascular condition
  • Gain flexibility

The clientele of gyms, which remains predominantly female (60%), continues to grow: more and more of us are “taking up fitness”. It is also becoming common today to meet at the Bike class (editor's note: indoor bike classes in a specialized studio) at 7:30 a.m. rather than at the local bar's Happy Hour.

Since 2010, bodybuilding has experienced a real boom in France, with a significant increase in the number of sports halls and a diversification of the activities offered there. These weight rooms, which were originally intended more for a male clientele, have been adapted to a female clientele who no longer hesitate to come and lift weights there.

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Another phenomenon demonstrating the craze for the discipline is the Body Fitness Show . This “meeting of Fitness enthusiasts” brings together each year, in Paris, Fitness professionals and enthusiasts around the latest innovations via exhibitors, conferences, demonstrations and conventions in which everyone can participate.

2) Fitness, an ideal complement to all sports

Over the course of its evolution, fitness has gone far beyond its original objectives, thereby reaching an increasingly wider audience. It is now aimed at all types of athletes and is seen as an ideal complementary activity for marathon runners, cyclists or footballers.

When we talk about Fitness, we encompass different practices which can range from Yoga to Body Combat. A diversity which is an undeniable advantage for the member of a sports hall.

Indeed, the marathon runner can practice Pilates to strengthen her transverse muscles (editor's note: the deep abdominal muscles which hold the organs in place) and, thus, improve her posture when running and optimize her performance. The cyclist can vary his physical activity by practicing more fun and dance classes such as Zumba or Step. The footballer can practice LesMills classes such as Body Pump to strengthen his muscles, without becoming a bodybuilder and thus maintaining his explosiveness. Access to devices and free spaces allows tennis players to perform dynamic plyometric work and have better movement quality.

Made up of simple movements and exercises that can be practiced at the pace of your choice, fitness is a universal sport par excellence, aimed at all ages, at all levels and for both women and men.

3) The benefits of the gym

To be inside

If you don't live in the South of France, your long outings seem twice as difficult in winter. Running in the Bois de Boulogne is, of course, more pleasant than on a treadmill, but the advantage of the latter is that it is always warm, well maintained and, if you tire of it, you always have the solution to go take a cardio class to vary the sensations.


Although some gyms offer a service with videos and guided equipment only, the majority of fitness gyms benefit from qualified sports coaches (compulsory in France). The eye of an expert allows you to surpass yourself whatever your objective: weight loss, improve your endurance or build muscle.


Unlike a swimming pool session, it is rare to not talk to anyone during a fitness class. It is also pleasant to meet there with colleagues before or after work. The group effect strengthens motivation. It's less easy to abandon the TRX class where you meet a group of friends on Wednesday evening than the swimming sessions done alone after work...

The variety

This is one of the major advantages of the discipline. Bodybuilding and cardio training area, stretching, choreographed classes, aqua-bike, Crossfit, New Zealand LesMills concepts, etc. Every year, the range of fitness room offerings is enriched with new programs to help you achieve your goals, for all levels.

It is therefore not a question of categorizing Fitness as an activity separate from your sport of choice but as a perfect complement. Whether to strengthen certain aspects of your preparation or, quite simply, to vary the pleasures, you can find what you are looking for in the wide range of exercises that fitness encompasses.

4) Sedentary, Fitness is for you

The WHO recommends regular physical activity based on age. 1 If you feel like you're too sedentary and are looking for an activity that doesn't require too much technical learning and that you can practice at your own pace, fitness is an ideal solution.

How to get into fitness? Overview.

In recent years, France has become the third largest European market in the fitness sector behind England and Germany. It is therefore natural that the offers offered to the French continue to increase and diversify. What are the trends? What is the right choice to make according to your desires, your objectives and your financial means? Decryption by #TEAMSTIMIUM…

1) “Classic” fitness rooms

By “classic fitness rooms”, we mean sports halls which offer group classes and a weight training area.

The weight training area is, most of the time, supervised by a qualified sports coach. Its presence is included in the subscription price. If you want personalized sessions, these generally cost extra.

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Concerning group lessons, these vary depending on the rooms and coaches. The emblematic “abs-glutes” and “TBC” (Total Body Conditioning) classes are, little by little, being replaced by new concepts.

The world leader in these concepts is the LesMills brand, in homage to Leslie Mills, father of founder Philip Mills and former high-level athlete for New Zealand.


LesMills concepts consist of pre-choreographed lessons that are identical around the world. A new choreography is offered every three months with “launch evenings”, which allows you to progress at your own pace, knowing more or less what awaits us before the start of the course. Strengthening with a bar, cardio inspired by combat sports, indoor cycling or even dancing: LesMills offers almost every type of indoor activity possible. For more information, do not hesitate to take a look at the different offers and programs on their website .


Although less and less present in today's gyms, "freestyle" is one of the origins of fitness. Behind this term are Step and Aerobic cardio classes. The Parisian venues of reference are Forest Hill and the CMG Sports Club. These classes can be very cardio intensive and will require your memorization and coordination skills.

2) Specialized rooms, or “studio”

The first rooms that were described as “studios” were rooms specialized in either Yoga or Pilates (sometimes both).


Yoga can be practiced alone or in a group. Its benefits on the body and mind are recognized throughout the world and the original discipline is called Hatha Yoga. There are 8 major disciplines of yoga.

Hatha Yoga

A session is made up of different postures linked together and associated with breathing exercises, we seek an improvement in flexibility, strengthening of the joints and better stress management.

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Ashtanga Yoga

Based on 8 principles: mastery of the senses, meditation, concentration, ecstasy, others, letting go, calm posture and work on breathing. This method is very dynamic and is based on six series of postures.

Vinyasa Yoga

It allows you to tone and sculpt your silhouette through dynamic and fluid sequences guided by breathing. Coming from Ashtanga Yoga, the rhythm is more sustained and allows you to exercise and sweat during each session.

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Iyengar Yoga

A modern variation of Yoga, accessories are used to make it accessible to all and thus modify the difficulty according to the level of the practitioner.

Yin Yoga

The postures are held for longer, we work on them in depth and we encourage letting go through the silence that reigns there during the session. It is often used as a supplement to other sports because it helps improve flexibility and strengthen connective tissues.

Yoga Nidra

Each session begins with the practitioner pronouncing his sankalpa: an affirmation of the quality he would like to develop. We then focus on visualization and numerous breathing exercises.

Bikram Yoga

This form of Yoga is practiced in a humid room heated to 40°C. We follow a series of intense and short-term postures. This helps eliminate toxins by oxygenating the blood and improving cardiac performance.

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Pilates, named after its founder Joseph Pilates, is a physical practice suitable for beginners as well as experienced athletes to improve concentration, flexibility and core strength. Just like Yoga, Pilates can be practiced alone, via a machine called a Reformer, or in a group, in this case we will call it Mat Pilates because the session takes place on a mat. In both cases, Pilates is based on 6 fundamental principles:


We call “the energy center of the body” the abdominal strap, from the pubis to the ribs. The practitioner must pay attention to it throughout the session.


In Pilates, the most important thing is the execution of the exercises. We prioritize quality over quantity and this requires constant concentration.

The fluidity

Like a dancer, the Pilates practitioner seeks grace and fluidity in his movements for the sake of quality of execution.

The precision

The gestures are carried out precisely and meticulously in order to have an optimal result on the bodybuilding of the practitioner.

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Each exercise offers different levels of difficulty. The goal is therefore not to try to take the hardest option if you have not completely mastered the previous ones. You must be able to control your body perfectly during the entire movement to validate it.

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Breathing guides the movement, you must find harmony between breathing and execution in order to work effectively.


We call Reformer, or Cadillac, the “machine” which is used in Pilates in certain sessions. The Reformer allows you to constantly mobilize the entire body by providing continuous resistance. This machine is equipped with springs to reduce injuries and most exercises are performed in a horizontal position.


There are more and more of them. In Paris, they are called Dynamo , or even KiWill for the best known. Here, the principle is simple: you get on an indoor bike and you pedal! But that’s if you’re home alone. In these specialized studios, cycling takes on another dimension. The coach takes you through a sports session that can be compared to a real sporting trip with friends! Atmosphere, music, advice, follow-up... Nothing is left to chance! Right down to the bottle of water which fits well, the towel and the cycling shoes, but also a range of small creams and treatments for after the session. We feel good there! Count between 30 and 40€ for a session.

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The latest news in the fitness world.

Directly inspired by the United States, these studios bring together several activities based on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). That is, you perform several exercises at an intense pace over a short period of time. The point is to “shock” your body and offer new exercises each session! You can find both cardio training and muscle strengthening in the same workout. We never tire ! Functional movements, running using the latest innovative AirRunner treadmills, exercises with Kettlebell... The possibilities for sequences are almost endless. If you're interested, you can try studios like Episod , Midtown , and Cluster in Paris. Just like cycling studios, quality service generally accompanies the service and the session costs between €30 and €40.

3) Practice fitness at home

And yes, if you don't have a gym nearby, you don't like sports with others or you prefer to choose the economical solution, it is possible to do Fitness at home!

You can find a wide choice of accessories to vary your sessions on e-commerce sites or in sports stores. If you don't know where to start and how to stay creative in your workouts, some TV shows specialize in getting you moving at home, the best known being Gym Direct on Direct 8. For the most connected among us, head to your smartphone to download applications like Results, Freelectics or Nike Training Club. Real monitoring can now be carried out and you can progress at your own pace and according to your objectives, without leaving your home! Be careful, however, to listen to the instructions carefully and, if possible, to do your sessions in front of a mirror to be sure you are performing the movements correctly. Without a coach to correct you, injury can quickly happen!

4) Trends to surpass yourself: CrossFit, Spartan Race, Mudd Day…


Technically, the CrossFit company was founded in 2000, but we can trace its origins much earlier when its founder, gymnast Greg Glassman, began using barbells and dumbbells to improve his performance. Competitive by nature, Glassman decided to become stronger not only in gymnastics, but in all the sports he took up: cycling, running, bodybuilding...

Having become popular on our side of the Atlantic at the start of the decade, CrossFit and its “boxes” are developing almost everywhere in France, also thanks to the major support of its sponsor Reebok.

To simplify, each session will be organized around a WOD (understand Workout Of the Day = training of the day). This is proposed by the coach of the session to adapt it to the practitioners, by the manager of the room, or by the CrossFit website which displays a different WOD to be carried out every day. Each WOD can be carried out in AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible = as many repetitions as possible during a given time), or in the form of a circuit of exercises to be performed as quickly as possible (be careful to perform each repetition correctly so that it this is “validated”).

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Crossfit quickly became popular due to its effectiveness. We progress quickly and we always want to do more repetitions or go faster than the previous session! The transformations on the body, which becomes more “fit” and sculpted, are only the consequence but not the main objective of your training.

The other advantage of CrossFit is the strength of its community. Entering a CrossFit box means joining a family, a group of friends who encourage each other without judging each other and who push each other so that everyone achieves their goals. For the most motivated, it's participation in the CrossFit Games to try to become the next “Fittest Man on Earth” like Rich Froning Jr !

A little advice from the Stimium team before going to a Crossfit box, take a look at the article on the glossary that we created so as not to be completely lost. CrossFit is a family, but also a language of its own!

S partan Race

Spartan Races were created by adventure runner Joe DeSena. These arrived in France at the beginning of the 2010s and they promote surpassing oneself. But what exactly is a Spartan Race? It's an obstacle course where you crawl under barbed wire, run through mud, jump over a fire or even climb a fence. With more than 30,000 practitioners in France, it is the most recognized organization in the discipline. The routes are varied as is the distance: from 6 to 20 kilometers for some! The Spartan Race offers its own European and World Championships, its training sessions called Spartan Workout, its coaching training ( Spartan SGX ) and its events.

Mud Day

Mud Day is like an obstacle course to be done alone or as a team. This is broken down into 22 obstacles spread over 13 km through varied and dynamic efforts. This is a very popular discipline in companies which do not hesitate to set up their “team” to strengthen ties. Thrills and mud guaranteed!

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Fitness: mistakes not to make

Here we are, you have made your resolution and you are going to embark on your new adventure: Fitness. No matter which solution you have chosen: Fitness room, Crossfit box, Freeletics program... To support you and give you the best possible start, #TEAMSTIMIUM has listed some mistakes not to make.

1) Wanting to do everything

This is the problem many beginners have when starting a program in a fitness studio. The abundance of choice of group lessons, maximum motivation, a desire for immediate results, etc. The desire is great to want to touch everything. But this enthusiasm tends to quickly fade. Generally allow 3 weeks... Because most new gym members give up before the end of the first month!

Our advice: start slowly but surely. Don't overload yourself with too many sessions. 2 to 3 sessions per week for the first month are more than enough, especially if you haven't practiced any sport before. Choose activities that you enjoy, don't force yourself to do Body Combat because "it burns calories" if you can't stand martial arts! Vary the sessions. Try Zumba, RPM, Step. Take advantage of the choice offered to you, knowing that, unlike the Sunday brunch buffet, it is strongly recommended that you refill if you liked it!

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2) Compare yourself to others

When you join the fitness centers, it is tempting to want to compare yourself to others. But the only thing that matters is your body and your well-being. Everyone evolves differently and just because your colleague only comes once a week, eats chocolate all afternoon and has the body you dream of doesn't mean you'll get the same result by following his lifestyle. Our advice: compare yourself… with yourself! Knowing that, for this, the scale is not the best interlocutor.

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To really see how you are evolving, take a photo of yourself every month (same framing, same position, same lighting) and observe the changes as you go. It is interesting to also realize how you feel. Indeed, certain results may take time to arrive visually but are clearly present physically: more energy on a daily basis, better sleep, a better regulated appetite... It is important to note these changes and how they evolve in order to to realize that your body is changing for the better!

3) The importance of sleep

Even with the best workout routine and proper diet, if you don't sleep well, you can't achieve good results.

Take the time to sleep (well)

The debate about how to be healthy often revolves around diet and physical activity. We hear the famous “eat-move” every day in advertising campaigns, but it is not that simple and effective. Sometimes the “eat better/move more” combination is impossible. And this, for good reason: between your work, your social life and your training, you don't take the time to sleep. Too few people realize the true importance of sleep...

Our advice: try to get at least 6.5 hours of sleep per night. To avoid wasting precious minutes unnecessarily, avoid using electronic devices (phone, tablet or computer) 30 minutes before bedtime so that your brain avoids being overexcited by screens. Plan the time you want to wake up the next morning and go to bed accordingly. This will allow you to control your sleep and be sure that you always get enough rest.

4) Being too strict about your nutrition

When you start fitness, you hear a lot about proteins. You should eat a lot of it! ANSES recommends a minimum of 0.8g of protein per kilo of body weight per day 2 , or 56g for a 70kg individual. See the very comprehensive article by Sports Physician Jean-Jacques Menuet to find out more about protein intake in athletes. 3

An update on calories

According to ANSES, the recommended intake is on average 2,400 to 2,600 calories per day for an adult man and 1,800 to 2,200 for a woman depending on their height, weight, and activity level. physical. 4 To lose weight, it “is enough” to absorb fewer calories than you need. But weight shouldn't be your only focus. What matters most is your feeling and your visual appearance. Remember that muscle is heavier than fat (note: muscle takes up to half as much space as fat). If you want to strengthen your muscle mass, there is no point in focusing on your weight.

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Certainly, your caloric intake must be regular and in accordance with your physical activity, but it should not control your life. Eat regularly, 4 to 5 times a day, avoiding excessive portions which can cause digestion problems and cause significant fatigue. Favor unprocessed products by cooking your own dishes if possible. Pay attention to sugar without completely depriving yourself.

And the supplements?

Food supplements can help you before, during and after exercise. Depending on their composition, they can help you manage your recovery , give you a boost during exercise, tone you up, help you control your weight , or even allow you to maintain your joint flexibility . See food supplements as a training companion and not as a solution to your problems. They are there to support you in your sporting practice. These supplements must be in line with your physical activity and your needs but above all must not replace a balanced and varied diet and a healthy lifestyle.

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Questions ? Remarks ? Experiences to share?

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1;jsessionid=6DF4897476C6C9048EA9300546C8F199?sequence=1: WHO publication, 2010, ISBN 978 92 4 259997 8 2 https: // (Recommendations of the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety) 3 https://www.medecinedusportconseils .com/2013/07/30/protein-contributions-among-athletes-simple-advice-interest-dangers-of-proteins / (Publication by Dr J.-J. Menuet, July 2013) 4 (Article published on the INSERM website)