Saturday 12 July 2014

Karl Henry: My 20 top fitness tips

You'll be amazed at the difference these simple steps make to your workout regime, writes Karl Henry

Karl Henry outlines the 20 fitness tips that can make a difference

In today's column I want to bring you something a little different, so I thought I would give you 20 simple fitness tips that you can glance at. Print out this page and put it on your fridge, glance at it when you're walking by and you will be amazed at just what a difference they can make.

1 If you have a busy schedule, start your day with an early-morning workout – you are less likely to make excuses when you get it done before something else can get in your way!

2 Do what you love – find a workout that works for you. There are endless routines and methods out there but if you find one that you enjoy then this will ensure you stick at it.

3 Share your goals with others. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable for taking action. It will give you a greater purpose and helps create a support network of family and friends.

4 You cannot out-train a bad diet. There is no point undoing all your hard work and effort by making poor food choices.

5 Kick up the intensity. A lot of people focus on the length of their workout rather than the effort they put in. Half an hour at full intensity can be just as effective as a one-hour workout at moderate pace.

6 Don't think diet, think nutrition. The word 'diet' automatically brings about negative thoughts. Stop reading about the latest fad diet that's out and start thinking nutrient-rich foods – and lots of them!

7 If you want to eat less, chew slowly and put down your knife and fork between mouthfuls. By savouring every bite we eat we can learn to appreciate food and not abuse it.

8 Don't be disheartened if the number on the scales isn't changing after all your hard work. Your body composition will be changing and you will notice your clothes becoming looser, even if your weight remains the same.

9 Keeping a food diary will teach you more than any book. This is a great way to review your food habits and to make small changes to your daily intake.

10 Make small changes. Nothing changes overnight, so take small steps at the outset and build it up.

11 Plan ahead. Preparation is key when it comes to both exercise and nutrition. Have your foods prepared the night before and your workouts scheduled in advance, so you don't make poor food choices when on the go.

12 Get at least seven hours' sleep every night. Insufficient sleep sends the body hormones into a state of chaos, causing snacking and mood swings throughout the day. Your body needs to rest and reset to function properly, so give it the sleep it needs.

13 Remember it's not our problems that cause us stress, it's avoiding them. Often, the task is not as bad as we anticipated once we get started.

14 Though it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're tired, exercise, even a brisk walk, can be more effective than a nap or coffee at fighting fatigue.

15 Choose fresh, seasonal and local produce from your butcher or grocer. This will ensure you are getting the best-quality food available while supporting local businesses.

16 Remember to drink water throughout the day. Water speeds up our metabolism, helping us to burn fat while we work.

17 Don't skip breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, it gets the metabolism burning after a night of fasting and gives you the energy to take on the day.

18 Switch to wholegrains. Over time, eating whole grains (brown rice, wholewheat bread, wholegrain pasta) in place of refined grains (white rice, bread and pasta) makes it easier to control weight and lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

19 Oily fish is high in essential omega-3 fats and includes salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna and sardines. Fish is a great source of protein so aim to eat at least two portions a week.

20 Have a treat. People often think of healthy eating as all-or-nothing but in fact the key to maintaining a balanced diet is moderation. So, allow yourself a treat meal once a week.

Health & Living

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