When you’ve plenty of time on your hands and you’re in the groove, you treat your body right. You’ve got your workouts planned and you hardly ever miss one. You’ve got your kitchen stocked with healthy ingredients, ‘clean’ (low fat, healthy fat) snacks and meals that never fail. But how do you stay in the groove when you’re faced with long work days and little time to visit the gym or shop for healthy food?
Fitness expert Caroline Pearce believes it’s all down to planning ahead and seeking out any opportunity to add activity to your day.
Fitness on the goRELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
1 Clench your glutes
If you’re forced to sit down for an extended period of time, whether it’s on the train, in the car or at your desk, try clenching and relaxing your glutes continuously, building up the number you can do before you tire. Then try holding each contraction for as long as you can. You’ll get a great bottom-shaping workout and no one will know you’re doing it!
2 Move more
Quite simply, opt to take a walk whenever you have the opportunity.
– At work try walking to your colleagues’ desk to discuss an urgent matter rather than sending an email.
– Take the stairs rather than the lift or escalators and burn approximately 40 more daily calories. Also try taking two steps at a time to develop stronger and better toned legs.
– Walk to work or to the bus or train station. Even get off a stop early and walk the remainder of the way to increase your activity level for that day – you could burn another 100-200 calories a day doing this.
– Walk after lunch to increase your calorie burn. Even a ten minute brisk walk can burn approximately 55 calories.
3 Body part blitz
If you’re short on workout time, you can maximise your training with my fab 4 exercises:
– Bulgarian split squat (single leg squat performed with back leg’s foot supported on a bench or step)
– Inverted row.
Perform as a pyramid of 5, 10, 15, 10, 5 reps of each exercise, before moving onto the next one, with no recovery.
4 Weekend fitness for fun
Rather than heading off to the cinema or sitting in the pub, choose activities that will keep you fit without even thinking about the gym. My favourites:
– Indoor skiing for leg toning and joint strengthening.
– Theme parks for lots of walking and adrenaline generating rides that increase your heart rate and calorie burning potential.
– Early morning bootcamps or a day at a fitness camp with your friends.
– Yoga or Thai Chi – if you’d rather chill, but get out of the house.
5 Re-set your body clock
Go to bed 30 minutes earlier and use that 30 minutes the next morning to do some sort of exercise that gets you sweating, like an early ‘fartlek’ (intervals of fast, slow and medium paced running and walking, with recoveries determined by you) in your nearest park. Or do a home workout session (see my Shape Up Circuit in the December issue).
6 Playing away from home (!)
Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure there are numerous ways to maintain your training.
– Carry an exercise band in your suitcase for biceps curls, triceps kickbacks and squats in your hotel room.
– Make use of your bed for dips, any stairs for step-ups and Bulgarian split squats and even the weight of your suitcase for overhead presses and bent over rows.
– Select a hotel with a gym or pool, and call ahead to check what equipment is available so you can pre-plan and do a more structured workout.
Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure there are numeorous ways to maintain your training
Food on the go
1 Pre-prepare your lunch and snacks
Whilst making your evening meal and whilst the utensils are out and food is on your mind, prepare your meal for the next day. I suggest grilling an extra portion of lean chicken to throw in a Tupperware box with salad or to stuff into pitta bread.
A portion of some raw nuts and dried fruit for that expected mid-morning hunger! Even get out your breakfast bowl and cereal box to ensure you don’t miss that all important first meal of the day.
2 Occupational hazards
If the food offerings at work functions fill you with dread of overindulging then try the following strategies:
– Eat a healthy snack such as an apple with raw nuts before you arrive so that hunger doesn’t cause you to reach out for high calorie offerings.
– Try the ‘taste and toss’ method of taking just a single bite of each food on offer to satisfy your curiosity but without the total calorie damage.
– Drink plenty of water to keep you feeling full.
– Keep talking so you don’t become preoccupied with the food on offer.
– Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or host for a clean food alternative.
3 Bring a dish
If a friend invites you to a dinner party then offer to bring something healthy, such as a colourful fruit salad for desert, to ensure there is something suitable for you. Hopefully your host will be pleased.
4 Portion control
No one is checking to see how much you are eating so take moderate portions when a buffet is on offer or food is being served up. And make sure you fill half your plate with veggies. Have a bite or two of dessert to be polite if your chef is particularly proud of their recipe.
5 Liquid solutions
If you fancy a tipple then think about damage limitation. A spirit, such as gin with a slim-line tonic, or a small glass of dry white wine are better options at around 70 calories each than an Alcopop or beer at more than 150 calories. Even if you’re teetotal for the night then reduce your sugar intake by choosing to mix your fruit juices with water and avoid non-alcoholic cocktails.
6 Get back on the wagon straight away
If you do overindulge or give in to your favourite food then don’t despair and write off the whole day. I’ve been guilty of eating as if it were my ‘last supper’. However, if you accept your indulgence and re-establish good practice immediately then you’ll feel much better. So, reach for an apple or some fresh berries and get right back on track.
My last tip is to visualise when thoughts of bypassing your workout or visiting the vending machine persist and excuses of being too tired to workout fill your mind, stop and visualise your end goal, whether it’s an image of you with a 7cm smaller waist or it’s setting a new personal best for the latest gym challenge. It works every time!