New magazine to promote fitness across prison estate
Inside Workout, a free fitness and wellbeing magazine designed specifically for inmates, is about to launch in prisons across the UK.
Having trialled three issues in several jails across the north west of England over the last two years, editor Nick Burke – who served a sentence in Strangeways five years ago – plans to take the magazine nationwide in 2019.
Article subjects range from cell workout exercises to accessing personal training qualifications, realistic nutrition advice and mental health topics including ways to deal with grief.
As well as writing, editing and personally funding the magazine, Nick also runs Salford Lifestyle Center, a gym and community centre that offers personal development and social growth.
Nick explained just why fitness and wellbeing hits the sweet spot of incarcerated offenders. “In prison, maintaining and improving your own body is one of the only things you can control,” he said. “It’s very difficult to make plans – you don’t get to decide where, when and what you do.
“Life is about progression and in prison you don’t generally get to decide how you can progress. Improving your own physical and mental fitness is a way for you to control your personal progress at your own pace. The magazine can help with that.”
Inside Workout was registered as a CIC last June and has close ties with Partners of Prisoners (POP) who have helped Nick to access the right people inside the prisons to help get magazines into the libraries (although this is not always easy).
“The impact of taking part in some form of physical activity is proven to be positive,” said Nick. “It obviously improves your fitness but it improves your state of mind and wellbeing; that’s not just for prisoners but everyone.
“A lot of the prison culture centres around the gym. Guys might pick up Flex or Muscle and Fitness magazine, but much of the content they can do nothing with. Articles might tell them how to get big by eating steak or chicken, but the reality is that’s not possible in prison.
“That’s why our articles give realistic nutritional advice. We’ll give you an idea what is better for you from the menus that we know are available, not stuff full of fat. You don’t get complete control but we can give you an idea of what’s going to be more beneficial to your body.”
Nick’s foray into journalism began by contributing articles on fitness for Release magazine when he was in Strangeways. He noticed that other media in prisons was “all very negative” and identified a need for something focusing on self-improvement.
Nick now self-funds Inside Workout and writes most of the content, with contributions from media students at Salford and Manchester Universities.
Long term he hopes to be able to invest profits from the magazine into improving the prospects and employability of prison leavers by funding placements on courses within the fitness industry.
Contact Nick Burke for more information on Inside Fitness at: firstname.lastname@example.org