Shape up for your summer holidays

It's time to get fit for summer, not only physically – but mentally, too. We ask the experts for the best shape-up strategy.

 
 
 
  • Woman sitting on the beach in a bikini
    Gabrielle Fagan
    By   | Family & home writer, Press Association
    Last updated: 07 July 2013, 15:35 BST

    The summer sun may be only be starting to filter through, but it can still rapidly trigger that distressing annual condition; 'body-image melt-down'.

    Its symptoms are easy to spot - rising panic as you face the thought of revealing summer clothes and stripping off for the beach, followed by a flurry of activity at the gym which you haven't visited since you took out the membership full of optimism in January.

    There's also an uncomfortable, dawning reality that the 'oh all right, just one more then' nutrition and alcohol strategy may not have been the wisest one.

    But is this the time to admit defeat and avoid all sun, sea and sand? Or to embark on a starvation diet?

    No way, says Sarah-Jane Holt, personal trainer at a Matt Roberts training centre. "This is a great time of year to evaluate your health and set yourself some targets and you're guaranteed to feel better for it.

    "There's still time to turn yourself around and getting 'summer ready fast' is one of the most common aims of our clients in July. It can be done."

    Follow the experts guide to getting summer ready, the happy and healthy way:

     
     
     

    Related stories  

    Tags  

     
  • Woman eating a salad
    Gabrielle Fagan
    By   | Family & home writer, Press Association
    Last updated: 07 July 2013, 15:35 BST

    The best way to begin your new regime is to get rid of processed food from the diet, says Dan Redwood, another personal trainer at Matt Roberts.

    His top healthy eating tips are:

    • Eat mainly whole and organic foods - these will help provide cells with the best fuel to function.

    • Make sure that you're getting a good mix of nutrients. Carbs should come from root vegetables and green leafy vegetables, and you will need lots of good fats from olive oil and foods such as eggs, avocado and coconut.

    • Protein should come from oily fish, organic meats and nuts.

    • Supplementation is very much recommended as a lot of foods lack the nutrients that they used to have. When aiming to get fit generally you want to have good energy which will allow you to train effectively.

    Try Matt Roberts Maximum Energy supplement, which contains a mix of vitamin B, B6 and vitamin D, to improve blood profile and metabolism. It's £29.99 and available from Ocado

     
     
     

    Related stories  

    Tags  

     
  • A woman running on the beach
    Gabrielle Fagan
    By   | Family & home writer, Press Association
    Last updated: 07 July 2013, 15:35 BST

    When training for general fitness, it is important to have balance in your programme, says Sarah-Jane Holt, personal trainer.

    "Try to mix resistance training with cardio vascular training, for example two days resistance and then one day cardio," she says.

    She suggests an exercise schedule as follows:

    • If you can, exercise at least three times a week.

    • Begin the week with an upper body session followed by a cardio workout and end the week with a lower body workout to ensure you allow sufficient rest and recovery time for different muscles.

    • Resistance training should be balanced. Aim to cover all muscle groups over the course of the week and consider dividing your resistance workouts into an upper/lower body split.

    • When training the upper body include four essential movement patterns:

    Pressing movement, like a press up, bench press and cable press
    Pulling movement, like a single arm row, bent over row, and cable reverse fly
    Vertical press, like a single arm shoulder press
    Vertical pull, like a pull up or single arm pull down.

    For lower body workouts, include squats, deadlifts and lunges.

    • Cardio/aerobic interval training is ideal for a quick session. For example if running on the treadmill lightly jog for two minutes then sprint for one minute and repeat that 5-10 times.

    • If you have a pre-existing medical condition always take advice from your GP before embarking on new forms of exercise.

     

     
     
     

    Related stories  

    Tags  

     
  • Woman with hands over stomach
    Gabrielle Fagan
    By   | Family & home writer, Press Association
    Last updated: 07 July 2013, 15:35 BST

    Improve posture and flatten the tummy with an easy exercise which takes only minutes.

    Joanna Hall, author of new book, Joanna Hall's Walkactive Programme says: "This is my number-one, all-round best abdominal exercise. Get it right and it works miracles. Do it as often as you can and it will lead to a flat abdomen and fabulous inch loss."

     The tummy tone exercise

    1. Stand with good posture and your weight distributed evenly on both feet. Visualise a capital letter J in front of you. The long part of the J is closest to your body and short part is furthest away.

    2. In your mind, imagine you're tracing over the J with your abdominals. So starting at the bottom by the pubic bone, scoop out your abs and then draw them in and up towards your sternum, as if drawing up the long part of the letter J.

    3. To help you imagine this, slide your fingertips between your waistband and your tummy. Pull your tummy muscles in and up at the same time - away from your fingers - without expanding your ribcage or tensing your back muscles. Don't take deep breaths or hold your breath.

    4. Hold this contraction for a count of ten, then relax for ten. Repeat five to ten times. Make sure your ribcage is down - your chest shouldn't be puffed up. Your ribs should taper down not out and your bottom should be relaxed, your back lengthened, not contracted.

    5. As you do this you are lengthening the area between you pubic bone and your breast bone, imagine these two points moving further apart: your abdominal muscles are getting longer, leaner and flatter.

     
     
     

    Related stories  

    Tags  

     
  • woman drinking green juice
    Gabrielle Fagan
    By   | Family & home writer, Press Association
    Last updated: 07 July 2013, 15:35 BST

    Drinking fruit and vegetable packed juices will help the body detoxify and rid itself of winter staleness, advises Alli Goodbold, nutritional therapist. 

    "Juices are proving hugely popular nowadays because they're a quick and easy way to boost health and energy," she says.

    "They promote an alkaline balance in the body which helps the liver to perform at its best in purifying and detoxing and will also help ensure maximum hydration so that cells renew. This will result in brighter, clearer skin."

    She suggests people should have one green juice a day as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Try one third of a fresh pineapple, two large handfuls of fresh spinach, and water blended.

    Alternatively, blend the flesh of half an avocado, a couple of handfuls of spinach or kale with coconut water. Improve a summer diet by cooking with Viridian 100% Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil, £14.99. 

     
     
     

    Related stories  

    Tags  

     
  • A woman sleeping in bed with brunette hair
    Gabrielle Fagan
    By   | Family & home writer, Press Association
    Last updated: 07 July 2013, 15:35 BST

    Summer sleep can be disrupted by heat and the bright light of earlier mornings.

    As if feeling tired wasn't irritating enough, scientists have also found that lack of sleep can make us fat, by slowing our metabolism so the body burns fewer calories. A recent Colorado Boulder University study revealed that we're inclined to snack more if we're sleep deprived too.

    But simple measures can ensure a good night's rest, says Dr Neil Stanley, independent sleep expert.

    "Sleep problems are common at this time of year as daylight is a signal to our bodies to wake up. So light streaming through the windows at sunrise, around 4am, often coupled with a dawn chorus, can disturb us and wake us earlier than we want.

    "Also, warmer temperatures make it harder for us to keep cool in bed and slow the essential process of losing around half a degree of body heat throughout the night. That results in restless, fidgety, interrupted sleep."

    His tips for a quieter, calmer night's sleep are:

    • Block out light with eyeshades, similar to those provided on air flights.

    • Wear cotton nightwear, rather than sleeping naked, as the fabric will wick away sweat from the body and help it to cool down.

    • Avoid alcohol and fatty meals late at night as burning calories  raises the body's temperature making it difficult to sleep.

    • Try to be positive about early awakenings. Regard them as an opportunity to take exercise or have a more leisurely preparation for work rather than viewing making them a catastrophes.

    • If you're getting enough sleep for your body you shouldn't feel sleepy during the day. Ordinary tiredness can be due to all sorts of reasons, but if you're yawning, your sleep quality and quantity probably needs adjusting.

     
     
     

    Related stories  

    Tags  

     

Wellbeing 

Energise me

Get an instant energy boost in four steps

Tired? Here's how to transform your body into a fatigue-fighting machine.

 

Most popular