Shed the mince pies and Christmas puddings
With the indulgence of the holidays at an end, getting back into shape becomes a priority for many people. Here, Abhinav Malhotra, master trainer from Fitness First Middle East, shares a few simple exercises to help shed the post-holiday pounds. This mixture of cardio and strength training targets every muscle group and boosts metabolism, and is suitable for all fitness levels. Try the exercises in the comfort of your own home, or head to your nearest Fitness First for more assistance.
Malhotra says, “You can perform two-three sets of each exercise, with rest intervals as per your fitness levels. If you’re an intermediate or advanced trainee, then you can also choose to perform these in a ‘circuit training’ manner – three circuits of back-to-back exercises as quickly as possible, with little or no rest in between. Ultimately, the best way to burn fat is to ensure that your calorie consumption is less than the number of calories you burn.”
“It might be tempting to dive headfirst into your exercise routine, but it’s very important to take at least five minutes to warm up before starting, getting the heart rate up and releasing tension in the muscles. Begin with eight reps of both inward and outward hip and arm circles, followed by some form of cardio, such as two minutes with a skipping rope. For an intense warm-up, consider a session on a slightly inclined treadmill, swapping between walking and sprinting every 30 seconds. If you’re feeling up to it, end the warm-up with eight reps of walkouts.”
“Now that you’ve warmed up, start with the exercise that challenges you the most. Burpees are a great fat-burning exercise for conditioning and full-body training. Aim to complete at least three sets of 25 reps, or do as many as you can until you feel the burn. You can mix it up with other variations of the exercise, like burpee pull-ups, burpee knee-ups or even burpee box jumps.”
“Mountain climbers are a great way to improve hip-joint mobility, core stability and rev up the heart rate, burning calories. Ideally, you should try to complete at least three sets of 15-20 reps on each side. You can also try to swap between walking lunges and mountain climbers for three sets, a set of mountain climbers, and then a set of lunges.”
“As a compound exercise, targeting more than one muscle at a time, squats help to burn a lot of calories during and after the workout. It recruits the quads, glutes and hamstrings primarily. Aim for a high volume for conditioning the muscles and fat-burning – perform three sets of 10-15 reps, using a barbell or kettlebell for more resistance. Pick a weight that is heavy enough to challenge you without compromising your form.”
“A great upper-body workout, focusing on the horizontal pushing movement. They target the pectoral muscle, front shoulder and triceps, while also engaging the core. Around 10-15 push-ups per set is a good starting point. If you can’t do a floor push-up, you can perform push-ups on a bench or a high box as a regression.”
“Walking lunges are another brilliant calorie-burner, as they also target all the major muscles in your lower body, simultaneously improving your balance and core strength. Again, for conditioning and calorie burn, three sets of 20-30 reps should do the trick. Unlike stationary lunges, walking lunges present better results, as they combine resistance work, and when weights are used will also rev your metabolism.”
“A post-workout stretching sequence is important after all of that intense exercise. Try various static stretching exercises for the legs, chest, back, arms, calves and hamstrings. Stretching relieves tension in the muscles, eases the pain, and promotes blood flow for muscle recuperation. Practice slow breathing while stretching for better relaxation.”
For more advice, contact your nearest branch of Fitness First. There are 59 clubs across 50 locations within the Middle East, offering best-in-class equipment, free group exercise classes and personal training.