Monday, 19 April 2010

Shape up for summer part II

Well I pretty much stuck to the food guidelines today apart from the medjool dates I just inhaled! But that was a pre-running snack so I'm letting myself off. This also brings me nicely onto part II of this weeks series, which is exercise.

I know ... I know 'a combination of healthy and eating and exercise is the key to weight loss' ...boring, boring, boring. But the reason you hear it so much is because it works. You have to be extreme with either for them to work alone, but combining the two is much more civilised and a lot better for you.

Now I'm no personal trainer so this is not advice, just what I've found works over the years:

- Don't be extreme: as per my blog last week intensive exercise can in fact encourage fat storage so if weight-loss is your goal then I wouldn't recommend a crazy regime or doing hours of exercise at a time. 30-40 mins exercise 3 to 5 times a week will be beneficial without being stressful. It is also more manageable to fit into a busy schedule and if you can find a regular time for exercise it will quickly become a habit.

- Don't just do weights or cardio. Most people prefer one or the other but both are important. Cardiovascular exercise burns more calories whilst you workout and doing it regularly can speed up your metabolism. Whilst weights encourage muscle tissue development which also increases your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories even when you're not doing anything, whilst improving your tone. If you don't want to bulk up I'd recommend the BodyDoctor programme ( and if you do I'd recommend the pyramid training used in the Body for Life programme (

- Do something you enjoy. I know that my love of the gym is slightly unusual and a lot of people find it a chore. But there are lots of other ways to exercise - dance classes, martial arts, boot camp/circuits, body pump, boxing, horse riding, even pole dancing - so find something you enjoy. Not only are you more likely to keep it up but it will also lift your mood.

- Exercise even when you're not down the gym. The typical city job involves sitting still at your desk for hours on end - not exactly conducive to weight loss. Look for opportunities to move in your day to day life - take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a stop early, use the bathroom furthest away from your desk and whilst your less healthy colleagues take a cigarette take a 5 minute walk around the block. This will burn calories and help you de stress.

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