By Tom Foulds, personal trainer, PureGym Quartermile
If you’re planning a late summer getaway, don’t fear. There’s still time to get in shape so that you can hit the beach in confidence.
By using this simple guide to exercise, nutrition and sleep, you will be able to get in shape and have more energy than ever before. I’ve also included these fantastic exercises which are easy to fit into your everyday routine.
To achieve a leaner body you need to maintain a balance between resistance and cardio workouts. A little resistance exercise will develop your lean muscle mass which will in turn increase your basal metabolic rate. This will improve your capacity to use fat as an energy source, whether you’re exercising or resting, leading to a slimmer you.
A healthy diet forms the backbone of any lean body. In order to burn off the calories contained in just one doughnut you would need to run three miles, so it is vital that you maintain a healthy diet. Ensure each meal has a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats and don’t forget to keep yourself well hydrated.
If you are sleep-deprived you can gain weight due to your metabolism not functioning properly. Humans need at least seven and a half hour sleep and if we get less than this, our bodies produce more ghrelin, which is known as the ‘hunger hormone’, and less leptin, the hormone that tells your brain you are full.
Here are three brilliant workouts which we advise you get stuck into before you jet off on your holiday. Make sure you vary the exercise you do, so try giving all of these a shot on alternate days and let us know how you get on!
The 4-Step Circuit
Combining these four exercises will burn fat, improve your co-ordination and increase muscle tone. You can do them in a park, in your hotel room or in the comfort of your own home so you have no excuse!
1. Start off with some light skipping for 30 seconds (if you're unable to use skipping ropes, light jogging on the spot is fine).
2. Find a staircase and run up and down it for 30 seconds.
3. You'll need a flat surface for these press-ups to avoid injury. Bring your hands out nice and wide by your sides and get your elbows in line with your chest. Bring your feet together, get your back straight and in line with the rest of your body, and then press straight down through the arms and chest. Always come back up, pushing through the arms and chest and avoid rolling back. If you struggle with full press-ups, just drop onto your knees for either a quarter press-up (knees under hips) or a half press-up (feet in same position as full press-up but knees resting on the ground). Complete 10 reps.
4. Finally, you'll need a bench/chair, a low wall or a high step to perform some tricep dips. Position yourself facing away from the bench and rest your hands at either side of your hips. Get your bottom as close to the bench as possible and bring your feet together and your legs straight. Now, lower yourself towards the ground by bending your elbows and without resting on it push back up. Remember to push straight up and down through the arms and avoid pushing your hips forward. Do 10 reps, then repeat.
Complete at least three rounds of the sequence above with no rest in between and try to do it as fast as you can so that you increase your heartrate. For maximum results, try doing the circuit for more than 20 minutes, so that your body can start burning unwanted fat, as well as carbohydrates.
The Park Bench Workout
1. Warm up with a seven minute jog in The Meadows.
2. Carry out an eight minute circuit consisting of tricep dips, step ups, incline press-ups, incline mountain climbers and box squats. Do reps of each then repeat the circuit with minimal rest.
3. The final phase of this workout is shuttle sprints. Set markers every 10 metres over 100 metres and run from the starting position to the first marker and back. Repeat up to the final marker then reverse the order. Try to complete this three times after as little rest and possible.
The 100 Repetition Bodyweight Challenge
You should try to make this challenge a habit as part of your everyday life and can be completed in just a few minutes. The rules are as follows:
• Choose any combination of exercises you like such as 20 push-ups, 20 squats or 20 pull-ups
• Complete 100 reps every day, seven days a week for two months
• The reps can be done all in one go or spread across the day
Whenever possible, take your workouts outdoors to enjoy the wonderful British late summer! You can make use of your surroundings, such as benches, trees and lampposts as part of the workout.
We’d love to hear your feedback on these exercises so please pop into PureGym at Quartermile in Edinburgh to let us know what you think, as you could win a free day pass! Alternatively, just drop a comment below…
PureGym at Quartermile is one of the busiest gyms in Edinburgh because of the incentives we offer. You don’t have to sign a contract and we have 24/7 opening times. To find out more visit the website www.puregym.com/gyms/Edinburgh or call 0845 077 3256.