January’s here and with it brings the guilt of having gorged on mounds of turkey and trimmings over the previous fortnight. And if you’re looking to shift that extra paunch, but running on treadmills and pumping iron just isn’t your thing, you’ll be glad to know that there are other options that’ll to do a similar job.
From revamping your culinary habits to checking-in at a luxury swimming pool, here’s how to get trim and slim without shelling out on an unused gym membership this year.
Perhaps the most straightforward way to shed the fat is by lacing up your flyknit trainers, donning a T-shirt and shorts and heading outside in order to pound the pavement, as running not only allows you to burn calories in almost any location, but it’ll also help tone your leg muscles without doing too much strenuous work.
In terms of distance, it all depends on when you plan to run. If you’re going to fit it in before the working day, we’d recommend a 20-30 minute session (roughly 2-3 miles), but if you’re putting time aside at the weekend you should push yourself for a little over an hour. Just avoid doing it on a weekday evening as you may to be too fatigued to follow through with your exercise regime.
When it comes to the route, try doing laps of your local greensward; however, if you’re not in a position to do so, then come up with three different circuits in your local neighbourhood and alternate between them every so often in order to freshen up the routine.
If you want to look the part, why not cop the Low Flyknit 2 by Nike (a trainer which offers seamless comfort and support) and some lightweight and waterproof nylon shorts by Arket.
Not only does swimming give you the opportunity to dip into the in-house pool which you haven’t used for months, but, due to its low impact nature, it can also be the best way to workout if you’re recovering from an injury.
Moreover, water is twelve times denser than air, which means that propelling yourself through it provides constant resistance which, in effect, strengthens and tones your muscles and improves your lung function.
Although it’s the hardest to master, the butterfly will only exhaust you quickly. Instead, stick to the simple breaststroke. Although this is the slowest technique, it burns as many calories per hour as swimming fast freestyle. Whereas the latter requires you to power through the water, the former forces you to cut through it.
And if you don’t have the luxury of your own pool, or the thought of visiting a public lido repulses you, then why not visit one of London’s most opulent hotels for a early morning splash? For the best ones to try, head to either to Corinthia or The Berkeley, both of which are equally as luxurious as the other.
If the morning commute on the train or in the car is becoming a bit too claustrophobic and crowded, why not take a respite from it all and get back on the saddle? Eco-friendly and a perfect way to increase your strength and endurance (not only in your legs, but also in the chest, back and biceps), cycling is a double-pronged benefit that you should try out, even in this cold winter chill.
Another positive about riding to work is that it will keep your mind sharp; in one recent study, employees in the UK reported that they felt more productive on days they exercised than on days they didn’t.
For the best gear you can buy, try out the Ludwig 8 speed by Schindelhauer and the Brevet lightweight jersey by Rapha – both of which, in the long-term, are more cost-effective than a gym membership.
Create a gym
If you really want to haul the dumbbells and sweat it out on a bench press, but don’t want to do it in the presence of steroid-injected fitness fanatics, then it’s really a no-brainer to curate your very own home gym.
The benefits of doing so are fourfold. First, you can roll out of bed or your home office whenever you like and start working out almost instantly. Second, everyone has an off day at the gym, so when that happens to you, you won’t have wasted a trip half way across town – plus, you can always pick things up again later that day. Rather obviously, you also won’t be in the presence of others who will grunt and pose next to you, meaning you can take things at your own pace and in the comfort of your own abode. Finally, like cycling, investing in the right equipment, rather than forking out for a monthly membership, will save you money in the long run.
To start out, find a place in your house or apartment that’s as airy and light as possible, then begin filling it with the most essential pieces of training equipment; we’d suggest a barbell, a plate set, a bench and a rack of dumbbells. As these are heavy pieces of kit, you may want to get some commercial grade foam flooring as this will protect your property and reduce the sound level coming out of the room. If your budget can stretch, you should then start looking into other gym must-haves such as a punch bag, spin bike and – if you want to make sure that you’re doing the correct manoeuvres – a set of mirrors.
Revamp your diet
Ever since you attended primary school you’ve been told that a clean diet is the key to healthy living, but have you actually been following this sound advice? No? Well you should be, and that means cutting out the high-fat foods (such as chips, pastries and cake – yes, even the tempting office gateau) and focusing on lean proteins such as turkey (indeed, it can be consumed even beyond the Christmas period), whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fish.
To find out about any specific dietary requirements, or for a more precise guideline tailored to you, make sure to check in with your local GP.
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