Sunday 18 March 2018

Siobhan Byrne: Shed the pounds for a leaner look

Combining a whole body workout with an eating plan is the answer

Siobhan Byrne: high intensity workouts are one of the best ways to burn calories. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan.
Siobhan Byrne: high intensity workouts are one of the best ways to burn calories. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan.
Cross-over push-up 1.
Cross-over push-up 2.
Cross-over push-up 3.
Split squats 1.
Split squats 2.
Split squats 3.
Spiderman 1.
Spiderman 2.
Spiderman 3.
Sumo squat 1.
Sumo squat 2.

Siobhan Byrne

Last week I wrote about some of the most frequent questions I get asked as a trainer: how to target specific problem areas. Whatever the science may tell us, I still see people in gyms trying to spot reduce through cardio, a classic example of this is using the bike for legs or the stepper for glutes.

The most important thing to note, is that cardio exercises will help burn calories if used with a controlled eating plan, which will help the appearance of the area but it will not, specifically, target that area.

If you are trying to drop body fat in a specific area, aim to drop pounds in general.

Working out along with a controlled eating plan will help you lose body fat and look as lean as possible.

I will frequently refer to the analogy of a tennis player who plays tennis with their right hand - does that mean their left side is not in as good shape or appears very different? Of course not, so bear that in mind the next time you are in the gym.

One of the best ways to help burn those calories is high intensity workouts. If you are hitting the gym, compound exercises are great at helping develop the muscles in the body, choose exercises like chest presses, squats and dead lifts. Remember, the more muscles you are working the more calories you are burning.

Use these four exercises in a high intensity workout to help burn extra calories.

Complete each exercise 12-16 times before moving onto the next exercise. When the entire set is finished take a breath and repeat the set a further 3-5 times depending on fitness ability

Problem areas #2

Cross-over push-up

1/ Support your body on your toes and hands with your elbows bent and chest nearly touching the floor.

2/ Push up to a straight arm position.

3/ Move one hand across the other, crossing at the wrists. Move the other hand out and away, opening your hands again to shoulder-width apart.

4/ Lower your chest towards the floor, bending at the elbows.

Split squats

1/ Stand upright with your feet split from back to front.

2/ Lower your body down towards the ground like a lunge position.

3/ Push off the front foot and jump into the air landing with the opposite foot forward. Repeat.

Advance this exercise further by using a weighted ball or dumbbell, holding it at chest level.


1/ Start in the top position of a push-up with your arms straight.

2/ Then bend your elbows and lower your body towards the floor, while at the same time bending one knee and bringing it to your elbow with your foot off the floor.

3/ Push back up to the top position and repeat with opposite leg.

For the more advanced, try the crawling version of this. Start with your fight knee at your elbow, immediately extend your right hand out to crawl, then bring your left knee towards the left elbow, repeat with opposite leg.

Sumo squat

1/ Start by standing upright with your arms straight and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

2/ Lower yourself towards the floor, sending your hips back and down and bending your knees.

3/ Then push through your heels to return to the start position, keeping your back straight and head up throughout the exercise.

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