Abs-olutely toned

HEALTH& WELL-BEING: GLENN MAINWARING

Not happy with the bigger waistline since Christmas? Glenn Mainwaring is here to help us make a start in losing the pesky pounds and giving us a head-start on getting a leaner and fitter body for 2019.

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Guys, it’s time to stop feeling guilty about that extra portion of Christmas pudding you consumed, or that third bottle of Beaujolais you downed on Boxing day.

I know you probably told yourself over-indulging over the festive period is allowed, and to a certain extent you’re right - the holidays are all about the good times.

The harsh reality is that you’re now feeling bloated, sluggish, unhealthy and are likely thinking - was it all worth it? The distended paunch squeezing over your belt is a salutary reminder to put the excesses of the holidays behind you and work towards achieving that leaner, fitter body.

Of course Rome wasn’t built in a day –not even in a month - especially if your Crimbo gluttony was the stuff of family legend, BUT if your intentions are right, and you muster sufficient levels of discipline and motivation, the new year is the perfect time to start shaping up again and make a real difference to your health and fitness. 

The endeavour doesn’t have to start with an all-consuming and excruciating exercise routine and neither would I recommend it either. If you haven’t been physically active for a while it is essential to take it easy, warm up your body day by day in preparation for getting back to your normal physical level. You should consider starting with a lower weight and reducing reps. Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. Perhaps ease yourself into an occasional gentle run until you get your stride back.

My focus following an indulgent December is toning up my tummy. The dreaded love handles – also known as a muffin top – is never a good look and if left can lead in time to a whole array of health risks like hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, cancer and arthritis.  In short, losing a few inches around your middle will do you the world of good, both physically and aesthetically. Here’s two killer tummy workouts you can do anywhere, and is a good place than any to start!

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Workout Level 1

Do each exercise for 30 seconds with 15 second break between the next. Keep your lower back in contact with the floor at all times and remember to breathe.

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Flutter kicks - Lie with your legs extended and off the floor, alternately kick while engaging the core.

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Knees up crunch - Lie with your legs in the air and knees bent. Curl your shoulder blades off the floor and crunch toward your knees, and repeat.

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Legs lower - lie with your legs straight and, in the air, lower slowly to just above the floor and repeat.

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Heel touch - Lie with your feet on the floor and knees bent. Curl your shoulder blades off the floor and alternatively touch your heels.

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Crisscross - Lie with your legs extended and off the floor, crisscross your feet over and under.

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Crunch - lie with your feet on the floor and knees bent, curl your shoulder blades off the floor and return.


Workout Level 2 

Do each exercise for 30 seconds with 15 second break between the next.

Remember with seated workouts, sit on the floor, keep your back around 45 degrees from the floor and maintain a stable position. Engage the core and don’t forget to breathe

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Seated Crisscross - Balance in a seated position and with legs stretched out and slightly above the floor, criss cross your feet over and under.

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Arms up crunch - Lie with your feet on the floor, knees bent and arms extended, curl your shoulder blades off the floor and crunch, and return to start position.

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Seated Flutter kicks - Balance yourself in a seated position, alternately kick your legs without letting your feet touch the floor and maintain a stable position.

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Pendulum - Lie with your back on the floor, with your legs extended in the air, lower your legs to either side of your body and repeat.

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Russian Twist – balance yourself in a seated position with heels touching the floor, alternately touch the floor either side of your body.

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Reverse Crunch - Lie on your back with your legs in the air and knees bent at a 90 degree angle, bring your knees to your chest and return to the start position.

Diet is also essential for that leaner, fitter body. My advice is to start making healthy choices when it comes to food. You might have heard a lot about the concept of ‘Clean eating’. Well, it’s pretty simple really. It’s about choosing whole foods such as vegetables and fruit, wholegrains, grass-fed and free-range meats, low-fat dairy products and unsalted nuts and seeds. Basically, nothing processed! 

Sadly, that means fast food, junk food, ready meals, refined foods and those with added sugars are all off limits, or saved for a ‘cheat day’. I really encourage preparing your own meals, as it maintains the flavour and the integrity of the fresh food, which means lots of fat, sugar or salt can be avoided.

Energy levels will be low following the heavy festive celebrations and the best foods to boost flagging energy levels are those that are rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, minerals.

Image: foodnetwork.co.uk

Image: foodnetwork.co.uk

Here are a just a few of the energising foods that will turn your fatigue into renewed fitness motivation. As long as you don't eat them in excess, these foods will make you feel lighter, healthier - and more inspired to move around.

High-Octane Foods

                •               Blueberries

                •               Beans

                •               Cantaloupe

                •               Strawberries

                •               Mango

                •               Spinach

                •               Salmon

                •               Nuts

                •               Tea

                •               Tomatoes

                •               Soy

                •               Low fat dairy products

                •               Oatmeal

                •               Whole grains

                •               Citrus fruit

                •               Peppers

                •               Sweet potatoes

Start off your new year eating small, healthy meals more often, and see how much better you feel. You'll gain energy, helping you to approach each new day with a renewed feeling of optimism and enthusiasm.

What have you got to lose, except maybe a few pounds?

Follow Glenn on Instagram at: @gmainwaring

 
































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