“Get in shape” – the sudden goal of everyone post January 1st. It’s difficult to conjure up the motivation to shift that excess weight and get toned in the post-Christmas binge eating period. Nevertheless, there are countable easy steps that should help you kick start the New Year in the spirit of all things healthy!
Get a gym membership
Seeing £29.99 or so leave your account every month for something you don’t use is painful, even more painful than bench presses at the gym some could say.
Committing yourself to a membership is the first step towards your pledge to get fit. The gym is a great place to combine cardio, weights and toning exercises. If it’s a full body work out you’re after, the gym is your best bet. Who knows, you might even enjoy it.
Sign up for a 5k, 10k, or a half marathon
Running might seem daunting at first, but it’s a great way to to ‘streamline’ your physique. Having an end goal in sight can be really motivating, so signing up for a race could be all it takes to dust off and put on those running shoes.
Depending on your fitness level, you might want to try the 5k Race for Life (if you’re female) first. Plus, you could combine it with raising money for charity which is always a bonus!
You might have watched your mum attempt some naff lunging to peaceful music and thought exercise DVDS were bellow you. In actual fact, videos can be just as vigorous as a gym session and they are a great way to teach you new moves and techniques that you might not have tried before.
A personal favourite is HasFit’s Coach Kozak who uploads a range of videos to YouTube including “insanity” workouts and several cardio kickboxing videos. The Body Coach TV is also a popular YouTube channel, especially for Joe Wick’s famous cardio “HIT” workouts.
In terms of DVDs, the Insanity Ultimate Cardio Workout is well known for its vigorous routines and quick results. Charlotte Crosby’s 3 Minute Belly Blitz also gets a good write up by the public for shedding the pounds.
Incorporate weights into your routine
Most often with females, there appears to be a common anxiety surrounding lifting weights. People are misguided to focus solely on cardio and ignore the fact that strength training is vital for losing body fat and toning your body.
According to fitness fanatics like the increasingly popular Kayla Fitness, weight training is effective as it will continue to burn calories after you have completed your workout as well as during. Equally, strengthening muscles is important for preventing injuries from working out.
Research some new exercises
Sick of doing sit ups and the plank? There is a whole world out there of ab and toning exercises! Repetition can make exercise feel dull, so mix up your routine by trying out something new. Lists like this one for abs should give you some inspiration.
Watch your portion sizes
You may well be eating healthily and making tactical decisions like brown bread instead of white and quinoa over pasta, but you also need to be eating the right size portions to match your lifestyle.
You should avoid quickly totting up your calorie intake and judging your portion size based on simple figures. Writing a food diary can help you become aware of how much you’re actually eating, including those hidden snacks from the cupboards. Some people find that using smaller plates to serve food helps avoid overeating during meals.
Up your protein intake
High levels of protein is key to preserving and helping build muscles. Multiple studies have proposed that higher-protein diets result in greater weight loss and greater fat loss. It is suggested that by following a high-protein diet you are less likely to snack as it reduces hunger hormones.
Some easy replacements are swapping cereal in the morning for eggs, snacking on nuts and cheese rather than crisps and adding protein rich foods to salads like tuna, salmon and pulses such as lentils.
Give up foods that hold you back
Although in general it’s detrimental to simply cut out foods from your diet, if there are certain foods that are really holding you back from your goal weight of physique, it could be worth trying to give them up. Some common culprits are overeating pasta, chocolate, crisps, biscuits and pizza.
Drink more water and get more sleep
Drinking water and getting a good nights sleep just sound like the basic necessities of life, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook them when trying to get in shape. Staying hydrated is vital when you increase your exercise regime.
Equally, those cravings for mid-day snacks are often because you’re just thirsty! If you’re someone who wolfs down food, causing you to over eat, then drinking water with your meal can also help slow down your pace.
As for sleep, it’s a given that sleep is crucial for energy levels which will help power you through your workouts. It’s even been said that a lack of rest makes you crave food as it causes your body to produce more ghrelin which signals to your brain that it’s time to eat!