Easter is lethal. All those delicious chocolates dripping with calories and oozing scrummy yumminess and catching your eye every time you turn a corner. I am particularly weak over Easter. I suffer from the inability to say no to chocolate and coupled with the fact that, for two weeks, people keep giving me chocolate, I tend to expand like a balloon.
So, how do we kick the weight we gained this Easter without spending money on expensive gym contracts or personal trainers, or equipment that ends up taking up space and gathering dust? It’s easy. You don’t need to spend any money at all and, in six weeks, you will see a difference.
First off you need to assess what you eat. If you are eating ten chocolates a day, then no matter how hard you exercise you won’t lose any weight. You might tone up, but you won’t lose weight. Cut out excessive carbohydrates and replace white ones with wholemeal. Wholemeal breads and pastas are far better for you than refined white foods. Eliminate cake and chocolate (sniffle) and if you take sugar in your hot drinks, see if you can reduce your current intake by half.
Obviously that isn’t a proper diet plan and if you plan on changing your entire lifestyle, then there are plenty of sites, books, and people who can offer your expert advice.
The first free activity that you can use to build up your fitness levels is walking. Oh yes, walking. While not an activity that will slice the fat off you as fast as running or interval training, it is an excellent place to start, especially if you’re not very fit.
Start out walking twenty minutes a day. Swing your arms by your sides, take deep breaths, and keep your pace steady. Don’t push yourself too hard but don’t amble along without breaking a sweat either. Get that heart rate up and a bit of sweat on your brow. Gradually build up your speed and endurance over a few weeks (you can read all about building walking fitness here) and then consider upgrading to…
…running! Now this is an activity that’s definitely not for everyone. I know many people who would rather gouge out their eyes with a hot poker than slap trainers on their feet and run down the road. Personally I love it, I find it incredibly relaxing. And I know many people who hated running at first but soon became addicted. Give it a chance and see if it fits your personality. If it doesn’t then why not try out…
…interval training. Now this may sound a little odd but it did wonders for me when I included it in a balanced diet. You don’t even need to leave the house for this one. Take a stopwatch and alternate between one minute of walking on the spot (fast but not manic) and one minute of star jumps.
At first you will feel utterly exhausted and bedraggled and may not make it to 15 minutes. Do your best and keep building up week after week. As this form of exercise is quite demanding it is best to do it once a week, balancing it with your walking regime.
To tone those arms and stomach you will need to do more than just walking and interval training, I’m afraid. However, you don’t need to invest in dumbbells or barbells (or bench press your kids) in order to tone your upper body. Use bodyweight resistance training. There are an absolute ton of free training videos on YouTube and I used many of them to great effect this last December.
Buffing your belly means you need to do sit ups properly. You can’t just wibble up and down and hope your stomach responds. Watch YouTube videos and read up on different strategies and you’ll soon learn how to get those muscles working properly and do sit ups to best effect.
Housework also burns calories. This is a very satisfying fact, especially when you clean your heart out and then discover dust in the same spot the very next day. Vigorous cleaning and polishing does wonders for your metabolism and you get a sparkling, shining house in the bargain.
Exercise does more than just get (and keep) you fit, it also boosts your mood, improves your efficiency and ensures that the rest you get is more effective. The benefits are fantastic and if you suffer from depression or insomnia or stress, then exercise is one sure fire way of coping with, and even curing, these problems. Plus you get the added benefit of a trimmer and buffer body. Now stand up and go for a walk!