Feeling like you’ve fallen off the band wagon? Just because your January progress has teetered off track, doesn’t mean you have to give up. We all want instant results when it comes to diets, exercise and our ideal body. However, to get the body of Beyonce, we need to be sweaty not sorry, so follow these small but effective lifestyle improvements to achieve your goals faster and get fit once and for all.
1. Avoid common myths. Doing 500 crunches every day is not enough to hone those perfect abs. It is cardio and eating right that will shift the fat above the muscle to reveal that six pack.
2. Find a fitness pal. If the thought of exercising solo makes you shudder, take a friend along to keep motivated. By making an ‘exercise date’, you are also more likely to stick to it. No keen friends? Taking regular exercise classes at at gym is a great way to meet like-minded people.
3. Keep it interesting. Fitness First suggest writing a list of activities such as swimming, dancing, boxing or running. Each day, choose a new activity from the list to mix up your routine and prevent boredom. Varying your workout will also use different muscle groups on a regular basis, resulting in higher fitness levels, so swap a weekly spinning class for Boxercise, or run up that hill you’ve been trying to avoid!
4. Don’t stay chained to your desk. If you work in an office and have an inactive lifestyle, aim to stand up and walk around every hour to increase movement. Use your lunch break wisely, and spend 20 minutes briskly walking round the block for fresh air and a refreshed mind.
5. Work out multi-muscle groups. Squats and press ups have been defined as two ‘super’ exercises because of how many muscle groups are worked when we do them. Alesha Dixon, creative director for LA Fitness, adds that doing these simple resistance exercises is a really effective way to change and improve body shape in a short amount of time.
6. Build-up. Strength training improves muscular strength, endurance and helps maintain bone density. LA Fitness trainers advise adding a few weights into your routine to help you stay strong and build stamina. Killer legs from from killer workouts.
7. Get wet. A few lengths in the pool is good for toning up and slimming down. Swim as far as is comfortable for you before trying to increase the number of lengths. It’s a great workout for all your muscles without any joint strain. If you’re a regular runner or cyclist, this is a great exercise to maintain fitness levels whilst alleviating pressure from your knees.
8. Get walking. Cardio doesn’t just have to be done in the gym. Go out for a brisk walk or get off the bus one or two stops early on the way to work for some exercise. You’ll arrive to work feeling more upbeat and focussed on your daily tasks.
9. Eat right. Omega 3, found in oily fish, has a range of benefits. It can keep hunger pangs at bay, help you concentrate, increase good cholesterol levels and aid weight loss. By eating a colourful and varied diet, your mood, attention levels and energy levels will increase, as well as additional benefits such as clearer skin, shiny hair and a better night’s rest.
10. Track your performance. Keeping track of your exercise patterns using smartphone Apps or a fitness watch can improve your motivation when it comes to fitness. Upload your times and progress onto the numerous online communities (such as nikeplus.com) to make new connections and add some competition, and find new routes around your area.
11. Start your day with a boost. Eating a healthy breakfast such as eggs on toast or porridge topped with fruit will give you energy and help concentration. Skipping breakfast will slow your metabolism and make it difficult to lose weight, so don’t be a hinder to yourself.
12. Get the right balance. Not eating enough calories sends your body into survival mode, and it will store fat. Regular meals keep hunger pangs at bay and speed up your metabolism so that your body burns the calories it consumes.
So give up giving up, and turn your motivation into a habit.
features writer & lifestyle blogger and avid shoe wearer.