Thursday 21 September 2017

How to get back in shape: Kayla Itsines, personal trainer

Getting in shape is a slow, but rewarding, process.
Getting in shape is a slow, but rewarding, process.

Expert advice on how to start and maintain a regime to get you back in shape.

Know your goals

Setting goals, no matter how small, is the key to staying motivated when it comes to exercise, because you feel amazing when you achieve - and exceed - those goals. Keep your aims bite-sized and realistic. "I want to be able to do 10 burpees by next week" or "in two weeks' time, I want to be able to walk around the park and not feel out of breath" are more practical goals than, "I want to run a marathon by the end of the year". Share your achievements with your friends and family, and set new goals as you tick old ones off.

Set the pace

If you haven't exercised in some time, trying to do explosive movements such as running or jumping straight away may feel intense, and put you off. Walking is a fantastic way to start. Aim to walk for 40 minutes, five days a week, for two weeks. Use your arms, and power-walk at a speed of four miles per hour to improve muscle tone and metabolism.

Choose circuit-training

Remember, this should be a lifestyle change, so it is important that your exercise schedule is realistic. Stick to circuit-training at first. Circuit-training is fantastic because it works all of the muscle groups, the various exercises make it interesting and the results are great. After your two weeks of walking, compose a circuit of four or five low-impact exercises, such as squats, walking lunges, press-ups on your knees, and sit-ups with a partner holding your feet. When you have mastered these, you can begin to incorporate explosive exercises such as jump lunges, and exercises with weights, such as sit-ups holding a medicine ball. Aim for 15 repetitions of each exercise, but if you can't do 15, start with five or 10, and increase the number gradually.

Keep a visual record

Seeing your body change as a result of your hard work is massively encouraging. But be wary of the scales: after six weeks of exercising, you may still weigh the same, even though your body is much leaner and fitter. Taking photographs of your body once a month, on the same date and at the same time of day, is a better option, as it captures the physical changes, such as increased abdominal definition or reduced back fat.

Expect the worst

Getting in shape is a slow process that isn't all sunshine and daisies. You will have sore muscles and will feel frustrated when you don't see instant results. Persevere; in six weeks, you should start to notice changes in your complexion and muscle tone, and you will be feeling mentally fantastic within the first week.

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