With more appealing activities on offer such as heading for the pub, sitting on the sofa, or waxing your private parts, exercise and eating healthily can often be at the bottom of your ‘to do’ list. But if you make a few simple changes to your day and diet, you could be amazed at the difference it makes.
Even if you have managed to stick to an exercise routine, you may still be struggling to reach your desired fitness or weight goal. If that’s the case, a few small tweaks to your routine and diet could give it just the push it needs so you can go that extra mile.
Champneys has recently launched its ‘Inspire the Nation’ campaign, working to encourage the public to get out and get active. Here, Champneys’ wellbeing director Louise Day and nutritionist Judy Watson share their tips on beating your health and fitness roadblocks.
Problem: I hate exercise!
Turn your commute to work into a workout. Cycle, jog if you’re close enough, or get off the Tube/bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of your journey.
You can exercise and catch your favourite TV show at the same time: crunches, bicycles, Russian twists, leg lifts and planks are all great exercises to do on the floor in front of the television.
Problem: I love running, but it’s not enough
Multi-task on the treadmill: do 10 minutes of cardio/sculpt by holding a 3-5 pound dumbbell in each hand and set the speed to a brisk walk. As you improve, work up to doing four-minute sets.
Increase the speed of your running strides – not their length – to get faster. Your foot should always land under your body rather than in front of it. Push off with the toes of your rear leg for propulsion.
Add wall sits to the end of every run. These will strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes, improving your speed and endurance. Lean against a wall with feet shoulder-width apart then squat until knees are bent at 45-degrees. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
Problem: I’m hitting the gym but not seeing the results I want
Instead of a normal lunge, do a lunge with a twist as it’s a great core exercise that builds lower body strength and improves balance. Lunging while holding and rotating a medicine ball from right to left engages the quads, glutes and core. It’s also a great warm-up exercise to get blood flowing to many muscles at one time.
Intensify your squats by holding a heavy object while you’re doing them. It doesn’t necessarily have to be dumbbells – you can find something around the house.
There is no such thing as ‘spot reduction’ when it comes to bingo wings; arm exercises alone will not get rid of them! Bingo wings are excess fat, therefore maintaining weight and using as many muscles in the body as possible is the first step to reducing them.
Problem: My stomach bloats
Drink warm water with lemon juice in the morning to aid digestion and reduce bloating throughout the day.
Problem: My energy levels are low
Add four Brazil nuts to your fruit snack during the day to fine-tune your blood sugar levels and give you a burst of energy.
Swap bread at lunchtime for oat cakes to reduce post-lunch tiredness.
Problem: I don’t know what to eat to complement my training
Eat a banana before exercising to increase your training capacity. The starch in the banana releases cortisol, which will enhance your training levels.
After your workout, include a protein source with a banana, such as a handful of nuts.
Include a complex carbohydrate in your evening meal such as quinoa, millet, sweet potato or wholegrain rice. These foods are converted to glycogen, which fuels the muscles for a more productive training session the following day.
Add a great source of protein to your dinner with foods such as salmon and chicken to enhance muscle repair and fatigue.
Problem: I eat healthily but booze a lot
Swap a glass of wine for pure pomegranate juice to keep hydrated. This will also support your cardiovascular health.
Have a glass of water one hour before you go to bed to support liver detoxification, which is proactive between 11am and 3pm.
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