Want maximum results for minimum effort? Obtaining your health and fitness goals for 2015 doesn't have to be a chore with these practical tips.
Is getting fit at the top of your New Year resolution list? Whether you're jumping back on the fitness bandwagon, or committing to moving more, you don't have to slave away for hours at the gym to get results. In fact, exercise is most effective when it's fun and not a chore.
Here, we ask personal trainer Jess Robinson from Lazy Girl Fitness for her practical tips to get moving, whatever your situation.
1. First, fire up your metabolism
Get your metabolism firing with a big squeeze of lemon juice in a tall glass of room temperature water each morning; wait at least half an hour before eating your breakfast. Lemon is an underrated fruit, rich in vitamin C to help boost your immune system and ward off colds and flus, and potassium for brain and nerve function. It’s also one of the most alkalising foods for your body, helping to keep pH levels balanced.
2. Embrace your inner child
There’s no denying the agility, speed and energy of kids. Got some of your own? Head down to the park with them (or round up some willing adults) and throw around a frisbee or football. You’ll be huffing and puffing, but you’ll also be having fun! Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous to be effective.
3. Remember that 10 minutes of exercise is better than none
Ditch that ‘I don’t have time excuse’ and build up a little repertoire of quick and simple workouts that can be done at home whenever you manage to snag a little time to yourself. Ten minutes is enough time to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing. Make HIIT (high intensity interval training) and Tabata your friends.
4. Sign up for an event
Having something to work towards gives you a purpose. Set yourself small goals and use every session as an opportunity to improve. It doesn’t matter what the event is, whether it’s a 5km walk, a 10km fun run or a triathlon - as long as it challenges you, it should have the desired effect on your motivation to train.
5. Move every day
Even on your ‘rest’ days. Suffering an energy slump in the afternoon? Try taking a 30 minute walk at lunch. Find it difficult to switch your mind off when it’s time to go to sleep? Try 20 minutes of gentle stretching before bed. Got that ‘blergh’ feeling after dinner? Take the dog out for a quick walk around the block and help the digestion process. Every little bit helps!
6. Get more sleep
Sleep is not a luxury - it’s essential to good health. It’s when all the good stuff happens, including muscle and cell repair. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your immune system, making you more susceptible to all the nasty bugs getting around. Plus, you’re more likely to make poor choices when you’re tired. Aim for seven to eight hours per night.
7. Be prepared
Plan your meals in advance and do a big grocery shop on the weekend so you won’t be tempted to sneak food from the kids’ plates or detour via the lolly aisle on your way home. It pays to keep some healthy snacks on hand too - throw together a jar of trail mix or some protein balls and keep it in your handbag or desk at work for that 3pm slump.
8. Think before you eat
Try to get into the habit of mindful eating. Before you pick up that snack, ask yourself ‘do I really want this? Or am I using it to manage boredom/stress/anxiety/thirst/unhappiness?’ Make your decision based on this answer. You’ll be amazed how often you’re not actually hungry at all!
9. Embrace the burpee
Chances are you’ve heard of the burpee. And if you’ve heard of it, chances are that you hate it! Bottom line is though, it’s an awesome, full-body movement that utilises lots of muscle groups and helps you burn plenty of calories. If you don’t know it, check it out here. If you do know it, get burpee-ing!
10. Join a bootcamp or fitness group
Making the commitment to someone other than yourself is often the best way to ensure you stick to those goals. It’s also a guilt-free way to catch up with friends - or even make new ones. Whether it’s a bootcamp or just a few of your girlfriends, training with others is motivating and a lot more fun than pounding the pavement alone.