‘Fitness snacking’: Regularly exercise in short bursts if you want to lose weight
The temperatures might have dropped again but our recent heat wave offered a tantalising glimpse of the summer ahead.
The joy of long summer days and weekend barbecues are in our sights — but so, too, is horror of revealing the bingo wings and spare tyres that have been safely tucked away for months.
The time to get summer ready, is now.
‘Most of us gain weight in winter and don’t worry about it too much,’ says A-list trainer Matt Roberts, who works with David and Samantha Cameron.
‘But it won’t be long before the summer is here and we’re showing off more flesh.
‘And if you don’t start now, when are you going to do it’
From ‘fitness snacking’ to ‘group personal trainers’ we reveal the top tips that’ll get you buff in time for the bikini season?…
DOWNSIZE YOUR GOALS
Matt advises against big, bold goals involving dropping dress sizes and losing stones. ‘Instead, keep your goals small and instantly do-able and aim to achieve two a week,’ he says.
‘For example, this week decide you’re going to go for a brisk walk every other day, or that you’ll cut down on alcohol. Next week, aim to drink less coffee, eat fewer biscuits, or eat green vegetables with every meal. Within a month you’ll have made six small changes that will make a huge a difference to your body.’
Matt says setting unrealistic goals means you will nearly always fail and feel de-motivated. ‘Small, manageable changes help you stay focused,’ he says.
Also, for the ultimate easy way to stay in shape, take fish oil supplements every day — they help your body burn fat around your mid-section. Try Bodyism OmegaBrilliance fish oil (40 for 60 capsules, bodyism.com)
‘Snack’ on fitness
Thankfully, the days of long slogs at the gym are over. One of the biggest trends for 2012, says Matt, is ‘fitness snacking’.
Put through their paces: Personal trainer Matt Roberts takes Samantha, left, and David Cameron out running to help them keep fit
‘Exercising whenever and wherever you can — for short bursts of time — is fantastic for your metabolism. Many of my clients are busy mums and they only have 15 minutes to spare, which is enough to get results,’ says Matt, who famously got Sam Cam into shape after the birth of her daughter, Florence.
‘Briskly pushing a pram, doing a ten to 15-minute set of lunges, squats and tricep dips while you’re running a bath, or a short, fast sprint on a spin bike will get results, so don’t think you have to spend hours exercising to lose weight.’
‘Now the weather is better, take your workout outside,’ says Dalton Wong from celebrity gym Bodyism, who trained Jennifer Lawrence for her role in The Hunger Games.
‘Studies show exercising in the fresh
air increases your mood. Also, the uneven terrain of a park or pavement
forces your muscles to work harder, so you burn more calories than you
would running on a treadmill.
‘On top of that, you get a great hit of vitamin D from the sunshine, which some studies suggest can help you lose weight.’
Great outdoors: The personal trainer who got Jennifer Lawrence in shape for The Hunger Games recommends working out in fresh air rather than in a gym
Researchers from the University of Minnesota have investigated the link between obesity and low levels of vitamin D. During one study, people with adequate levels of the vitamin lost more weight than people with low levels, despite eating and exercising the same amount.
Another study found people who ate more vitamin D had less stomach fat than people who ate less. Good sources include sardines, salmon and eggs.
TAKE THE THREE-CHEW CHALLENGE
The next time you fancy something sweet,
remember this: ‘We think sugar is tasty, as it looks delicious in pink
cupcakes and fizzy sweets,’ says Dalton.
According to Dalton, sugar is worse for you than fat, with several studies revealing how fattening it is and how ageing it is for the body.
‘Despite our best intentions, our consumption is rising because so much sugar is hidden in everyday foods such as pasta sauces, bread, yoghurts and fruit drinks,’ says Matt.
Sweet treat: Avoid temptation by having ‘good’ fats with your meals. If you must have an unhealthy snack like a cupcake, try having just three chews
Do your meals consist of saintly things like porridge and salads, whereas you snack on cupcakes, biscuits, crisps and chocolate
Matt says women are more likely to fall into the salad/cupcake eating trap in a bid to convince themselves they’re ‘being good’.
To avoid feeling hungry between meals, make sure every meal contains a little good fat (nuts, olive oil, avocado, oily fish such as salmon) and lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs), and drink plenty of water, as we can mistake thirst for hunger between meals.
SHARE YOUR TRAINER
‘One of the big fitness trends is sharing a personal trainer,’ says Matt. ‘I’ve seen an increase in small groups of friends hiring a personal trainer and splitting the cost.’
Gym chain David Lloyd has also launched group personal trainers or ‘GPTs’.
‘You get the benefits of a personal trainer but you share the cost with friends,’ says Anna-Marie Muldowney, of David Lloyd.