Maybe I’m increasingly speaking for a dwindling minority, but I remain aghast at society’s obsession with reducing everything to convenient, bite-sized, easy to swallow chunks.

The world today is obsessed with a short and sharp, quicker is easier methodology. Instant gratification appears to be the aim however shallow the experience.

We are told this is all about making things accessible and popular for kids and attracting the younger generation.

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What is more alarming is that we are told these steps are necessary because youngsters don’t have the attention span to cope with the mental demands the longer versions place on them. And they never will if we pursue this line and don’t ask them to concentrate!

Of course this mindset has long since found a very willing home in the fitness industry. ‘Quick fix’ is an expression born for the fitness and diet marketeers!

It wasn’t long ago that the Advertising Standards people banned a TV advert by a certain tea brand. It was deemed to have inferred that drinking its tea was a reasonable substitute for exercise.

Good on the ASA for jumping on that, but doesn’t it just show how minds are working these days and how advertising agencies will readily latch onto and compound this situation.

Everything is about being quick and easy – heaven forbid some effort might have to be invested! And this is where it all misses the point. It is the very effort, time, consideration, focus and application that not only leads to the best results but actually enriches the soul and elevates body and mind.

We’re talking about a multi-sensory experience that requires time management, determination, discipline and effort. The end products are a buzz, a sense of achievement and genuine results.

We are told that we’re more time restricted and stressed than ever. Though how much of that is true and how much is a media driven self-fulfilling prophecy it is hard to say. It has never been quicker and easier to travel or communicate.

Food has never been more widely and readily available. We live in what is basically a stable, safe and tolerant society in much of the world and leisure pursuits have never been more accessible.

The fact is we do have time in our daily schedules to make a meaningful difference. And it doesn’t depend on ‘magic tablets’ or expensive ‘miracle breakthrough’ equipment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we’ve got the ultimate tool at our disposal every minute of every day. Our body.

With very limited space and zero budget we can perform the proven and effective array of exercises that I swear by. I lived by these ever reliables as a dancer, fitness competitor, Adventure Racer, mountaineer, trainer and mother…their value remains absolutely the same.

Here you are a list of recession busting exercises:

Press-Ups

The conventional press up sees you lift approximately 65% of your body weight when performed properly.

It can of course be altered by narrowing the hand position, taking one leg off the ground (or hooking one foot over the back of the other), pushing up with the hands leaving the ground, raised legs (placing the feet on a step or chair) and even one armed press ups for the ambitious.

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It is by no means a one dimensional workout discipline. With good form a press up can hit shoulders, chest, back and arms, the core and legs too.

Their other beauty is that advances can be made very quickly. If you can only do a very small number initially, don’t worry. If five is your best, do five in the morning, do five at lunchtime, do five before you go to bed.

When you get out of bed in the morning do five more…and repeat. Within a couple of days I assure you that five will become seven then 10 a few days after that. And then it is onwards and upwards! The same applies if your starting point is 20.

Execute 20 three times a day for a few days and just see how long it takes you to hit 25 and 30. You will be delighted at your progress.

Lunges

These are a real ‘meat and potatoes’ element of the training repertoire. Great strengthening and shaping exercises for the quads and glutes. Always concentrate on form throughout with very deliberate and focused movements because they are actually harder than they seem to perform perfectly.

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Squat Jumps

Being a bouncy sort with a lifelong interest in springing round (or dance as it is often known!) these are probably my favourite. Deep bodyweight squats are a terrific exercise anyway for the legs and glutes.

But if you bring some serious ballistics to the exercise you will really hit the spot. Simply drop down into the squat position and then drive up powerfully so that you leave the ground. Land, and repeat. This will get the heart pumping too!

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Subtle changes in foot position will also place the emphasis on outer, inner and deeper muscles. If you are embarking on a fitness programme or recovering from knee trouble for example I’d suggest performing standard squats to start with before building towards these squat jumps.

Pull Ups

This is likely to be the hardest bodyweight exercise you can attempt. But the same principle applies as mentioned with press ups. Do what you can – even if is one – and repeat it a few times during a day. Again I can assure you you will not be stuck on one for too long.

I was at a fitness show not long ago where I was endorsing a pull-up product. There was a girl working on the stand who could not perform a single one at the beginning of the day – not the ideal person for the job you might think! But in a way she was because by the end of a determined day she could knock out three or four.

That is how quickly these advances can be made.

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There is versatility here too. Change hand grip widths and positions – wide, narrow, over-hand, under-hand. Each hits the shoulders, chest, back and arms very differently.

Hopefully you have already successfully honed yourself a great summer bikini body this year. This is the time to maintain our shape and fitness and these strengthening and toning exercises will not be a drain on your time, they don’t require space and perhaps best of all these days….they cost nothing!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!

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