HIRING a personal trainer doesn’t come cheap, and scrolling through health and fitness tips on social media can often leave us even more confused.
Where do you even begin?
We’ve spoken to some industry experts – yes, bonafide personal trainers – who have shared some simple snippets of advice that’ll have you motivated to achieve your health and fitness goals this year…
FOR WEIGHT LOSS
1. Ben Gregory, former international athlete and coach, and PT at Manor London: “Drink more water and get your steps in.
“General activity levels will help you lean down and feeling full with plenty of water not only makes your skin glow, it give you loads of energy but also keeps you feeling more satiated – you won’t be wanting to reach for those naughty snacks!”
2. Samuel Aremu, Level 3 PT and body transformation coach: “Set alarms on your phone for getting up and away from your desk to take a 10 to 20 min walk a few times a day.”
3. Lewis Bloor, online fitness coach: “Focus on the times you eat. Instead of going from junk food to rabbit food straight away, focus first on eating all your food within an eight hour window.
“Gain this control, then move on to fine tuning the diet. This is called Intermittent Fasting.”
4. Lucy Gornall, personal trainer at Digme: “Females, work with your body! Appreciate that at certain times of the month, you’ll have an increased appetite and a lower desire to exercise.
“During these times, aim to maintain, then get back on the weight loss wagon after.”
5. Samuel: “Use an online calorie calculator to work out what your personal calorie requirements are.
“Start by consistently consuming your daily maintenance calories; once you can do this consistently for two weeks, and if your weight has dropped, calculate your calories again and do the same for two weeks.
“If your weight hasn’t dropped, then slightly decrease your calories by 200 to 300 calories less per day as this will kick start the weight loss process.”
FOR A FLAT TUMMY
6. Baz Gouldsbury, PT and gym owner: “Abs are made in the kitchen; having reduced-sugar meals will definitely assist in achieving a flatter tummy.”
7. Lucy: “Your posture could have a role to play in the flatness of your tummy – try tilting your pelvis forwards when you’re upright, which can often stop the lower belly protruding out.”
8. Samuel: “Aim for a minimum of two litres of clean fluid, daily – our body retains water and it’s usually stored around our waistline.
“Drinking water regularly allows your body to get rid of the excess, especially around the love handles.”
9. Alex Crockford, PT and creator of fitness app, #CrockFit: “Something a little different is the ‘vacuum’ and it’s something you can do as part of your daily routine.
“It involves really pulling in that deep core muscle, which really does tighten up the whole tummy area, irrelevant of fat loss: hold this for 15 seconds and increase this over time.”
10. Samuel: “Avoid inflammation of the gut by cutting out the foods that you know will get you bloated, no matter how nice they may be.”
FOR LEAN LEGS
11. Maurice Ryan, general manager and PT at Fitness First Harringay: “Try weighted walking, lunge forwards and backwards.
“Typically use a barbel on your back and take six to 10 steps forwards depending on the space you have, followed immediately by the same steps backwards.
“Doing it this way gives us the opportunity to make it the total leg burner!”
12. Samuel: “If leaner legs are what you want, high repetitions – around 20 or more – with low-moderate weight is the direction you want to be heading in.
“Avoid heavy lifts and instead go for a weight around 30-60% of your heaviest.”
13. Lewis: “Running, sprinting, jumping and kickboxing are all great ways to strengthen and tone the legs.
“Make sure you train legs three times a week and get your rest in too!”
14. Lucy: “Walk everywhere. Honestly, walking is such an underrated form of movement and means your lower body is consistently working, helping to shed fat.”
15. Jayne Lo, Elite Trainer, Third Space: “A split squat builds muscle and strength by working each leg individually.
“Stand tall, then take your right leg back, as if you were about to do a lunge, keeping the right heel off the ground.
“Engage your core, and bend both knees, dropping down until the right knee is just above the ground, then push back up to standing.
“Avoid the front knee coming past the front toes and aim for eight to 10 reps on each leg.”
FOR A BROAD CHEST
16. Godswill Ejiogu, sport scientist and PT: “I would recommend press ups as the best exercise to grow your chest, with my second favourite being a dumbbell chest press.
“For this, lie back on a bench, feet flat on the ground, hold a dumbbell in each hand, and then extend your arms up, so the dumbbells are over your chest.
“Then, move the dumbbells back down towards your chest slowly; pause, then press up again – try four sets of 12 reps, with a 45 second rest between each set.”
17. Ben: “Go heavy on any bench exercise and focus on that time under tension by going slowly and pausing at the top of the move.
“Superset (as in, go straight into another exercise with no rest) with resistance band exercises to get that real full pump after each set.”
18. Baz: “A lot of people stick to the same routine, week in week out, so take yourself out of that same old routine and mix it up, as shocking the body is the way to achieve the best results.
“If you’ve always done the same program of weights, then change the moves and change the number of repetitions.”
19. Samuel: “There are three things our chest loves; volume, variety, and big weights, son each chest day aim to do a total of no fewer than 100 reps.
“In fact, aim towards 200 to 300. Split these repetitions between a variety of four to six different exercises then, aim to increase the weight you use for each exercise on a weekly basis and aim to do this in increments of 2.5 – 5kg.”
20. Alex: “Instead of doing a chest day every week, try doing push ups as a part of your daily routine.
“Do a little push up session to failure (until you can do no more reps) every day and this will help you grow your chest much better than one workout per week.”
TO BE A FASTER RUNNER
21. Ben: “Go for shorter and faster paced sessions with good recovery between reps, so you can keep giving that high intensity effort.
“Don’t be afraid of long recovery sessions that span more than five to six minutes’.”
22. Jay Revan, boxing and conditioning coach at My Manor London: “Introducing explosive plyometric movements like jump squats, jump lunges or box jumps into your strength training programme can improve your running speed.
“These movements will teach your muscles to contract at a faster and more efficient rate.”
23. Ryan Lucas-Lowther, Crossfit coach at Fortitude Fitness London: “It sounds simple, but move your arms faster, and it seems to work!”
24. Lewis: “Instead of running for hours every day, split your training between endurance and explosiveness.
“Go for two long, slow runs and two hard and fast sprint sessions a week; this will get you to level up in a matter of weeks.”
25. Jay: “Interval training is a great way to improve running speed.
“Switching between short intense bursts of running and timed recovery periods not only helps build muscle but will improve your overall speed and aerobic endurance.”
26. Samuel: “Mix up a normal jogging pace with sprints.
“Try one minute of jogging followed by 20 seconds of sprints, done eight times, back to back.”
FOR TACKLING A 5K
27. Baz: “If you’re new to running, start off slow. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Join your local running club as this will build your confidence.”
28. Tim Kayode, founder of Myoset Sports and performance therapist: “Introduce a purposeful warm up – I’d encourage everyone before running a 5k to perform 3D Stretching.
“This is functional, dynamic stretching and offers a more active way to loosen up before exercise, plus, it activates your muscles and improves flexibility and joint mobility.”
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29. Louenna Edwards, Barry’s Bootcamp Trainer and LuLuFiit founder: “Get yourself a pair of decent trainers; comfortable, supportive and bouncy – Adidas Pureboost 19’s are my go tos.
“The same goes for your gear, don’t wear anything that will be a nuisance, fall down or get in the way of movement.”
30. Samuel: “Map out a 5k route that you’re familiar with; select a day where you’ll cover 1k out of this 5k distance; sry and jog this 1k then walk the rest.
“Then, continue to do this and gradually increase your jogging distance to 2k. Keep repeating this until you can do 5k.”
31. Louenna: “Use an app to track your split times, distance and progression – Strava would be my recommendation.
“You can see what your friends are up to on it, keep yourself accountable and hearing how fast or slow I’m running each kilometre really does help me progress.”
32. Ben: “Spend less time focusing on pace and looking at your fitness tracker. Instead, try to get out and just enjoy the feel of running.
“Building up lots of easy miles that don’t even feel like training will help build you a serious base to build on.”
33. Louenna: “If you struggle with distance, start by running 1k for example and build up each week.
“Slowly but surely as you get fitter you can add a little distance and before you know it, 5k will be a breeze!”
FOR TONED ARMS
34. Maurice: “Work on [your] triceps because they are the biggest muscle group in the arm and can give the toned look we all love.
“Using the cable machine in your gym is a great way to tone the triceps. Go for a Cable Pulldown first. For this, stand arms length away from the cable machine and make sure the cable attachment point is above your head.
“Hold a handle in each hand, overhead with arms straight. Slowly pull the cable down towards your thighs, keeping arms and back straight.
“Pause when the cable handles reach your thighs, then return to overhead arm extension. Do 10 reps.
“Superset this with Dumbbell Extensions: stand tall holding one dumbbell in both hands, arms up overhead.
“Keeping upper arms straight, bend at the elbows and lower the dumbbells down towards your upper back.
“Pause, then using your tricep muscles, bring the dumbbell up to the start position. Do 10 reps.
“Do these moves back to back, taking a one minute rest between each pair. Go for three rounds and feel the burn!”
35. Samuel: “Find a group of arm exercises you enjoy doing and increase the volume of each exercise.
“So if you were doing 10 rep of three sets before, now do 20 rep of six – 10 sets.
“The weight you chose should not be so heavy that you are unable to complete 15 reps.”
36. Lucy: “Boxing is a great cardio workout that also provides serious arm toning. Go for five sets of three minute intervals.”
37. Godswill: “Try a dumbbell bicep curl supersetted with a body weight bench dips.
“Opt for 15 reps of each, back to back, then take a 45 second break before repeating it again. Do this four times.
“For the dumbbell bicep curl, stand upright, with a dumbbell in your left hand, arm down by your side, palm facing forward.
“Keeping your upper arm close to your body, bend at the elbow and curl your forearm up towards your shoulder, holding the dumbbell. Pause, then lower back to the start position – that’s one rep.
“For bodyweight bench dips, you’ll need a bench or the edge of a chair.
“Sit on your bench, and place your hands on the edge, either side of your hips. Legs should be straight out in front of you with heels in the ground.
“Slide your glutes off the bench, then bend at the elbows and lower yourself down until you are hovering just above the ground. Then, push back up through your palms to the start position.”
TO BE MORE MOTIVATED TO EXERCISE
38. Ben: “Watch any fitness documentary on Netflix – I can’t help banging out some push ups after watching Mat Fraser win another CrossFit Games.
“They are just such inspiring athletes.”
39. Samuel: “Tell someone your goals as when we are accountable to someone we are less likely to quit because deep down we want to keep the image that person has of us, a positive one.
“So we will do whatever it takes to keep it that way!”
40. Baz: “The biggest motivation is yourself and who you surround yourself with.
“Try to be around like-minded people who love to keep fit and healthy. Attending fitness classes is also a good way to do this.”
41. Kate Beckitt, marketing specialist at Fresh Fitness Food and PT: “Don’t wait for motivation to come.
“Real progress comes when even in the moments when you really don’t want to do the workout, or you really want to eat that extra slice of cake, you push through and do it anyway.”
42. Louenna: “Music holds the key to my motivation and I really struggle if I realise my Beats headphones are out of battery!
“Create a playlist that is going to motivate you and keep you pumped up!
“The sense of euphoria that music can create can sometimes make you feel on top of the world, so do not underestimate the power of a great playlist.”
43. Samuel: “Writing down your goal makes the reason why you train and exercise in the first place, more real, and the more real it feels, the more you will be connected to it which will keep you on track.”
44. Lewis: “Focus on how you’re going to feel after the workout.
“Try not to engage the little voice in the back of your head and just GO! Half the battle is getting there, the workout will take care of itself.”
FOR SIX-PACK ABS
45. Ben: “Hill sprints and heavy lifting is a killer combo. There’s nothing like all-out effort to get the abs working hard and popping.
“Get outside, find a hill and blast it to the top.”
46. Baz: “To achieve a six-pack you will have to sacrifice your sugar and high calorie intake.
“Anyone can achieve a six-pack; it will and does take time to achieve.”
47. Kate: “Doing thousands of crunches won’t get you a six-pack and spending all your time doing ab workouts isn’t the most productive use of your time.
“Exercises like squats and deadlifts use the core for stabilisation and allow you to work your abs as well as other muscles across the body.
“These types of movements will help to change your body composition, lower your body fat percentage and therefore help you to see that six-pack.”
48. Samuel: “Add resistance. Remember that our ab muscles are like all other muscles and for them to develop, they need to be working against resistance.
“Instead of 1,000 body weight crunches, do 20 but add some weight to the crunches by holding a dumbbell or plate.”