SHAPE-UP SHAKEUP

Five tips to kick-start your fitness

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SHAPE-UP SHAKEUP
Five tips to kick-start your fitness

Adidas


 
Adidas

Photo: Anthea Simms

1) GET COMMITTED.
“You can sort of make a commitment and you can really make a commitment,” explains Nathan Mellalieu, the president of Vancouver’s Studeo55 health club. “Sort of making a commitment is, ‘I’m going out by myself to the health club, and I don’t tell anyone I want to lose weight.’ Really making a commitment is setting some goals that push your limits, paying for things [a personal trainer, Pilates classes, a running clinic] and telling everyone around you. There’s a difference.” Plus, don’t think your commitment means your social life has to suffer due to hours spent working out; in fact, a 2007 Australian study by the University of New South Wales found that you can burn more fat when you exercise for only 20 minutes three times a week by doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

2) INJECT SOMETHING NEW INTO YOUR REGIMEN.
Wake up your muscles and your mind by shaking up your routine with two new faves. One of them, Budokon, is popular with celebs such as Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox-Arquette, and has just arrived in Canada (at Montreal’s Spa Zazen and Toronto’s 889 Yonge). Budokon blends yoga techniques with karate, jujitsu and taekwondo movements. “This is a per-fect substitution for a weight-training circuit,” says Jennifer Findlay, 889 Yonge’s yoga director. “It’s as difficult for a 250-pound hockey player as it is for a 90-pound ballerina.”

3) USE YOUR LIVING ROOM AND TV FOR SOMETHING OTHER THAN WATCHING GREY’S ANATOMY.
The frigid weather can make working out at home very appealing—besides, it’s easier on the wallet. Pop in a Pure Barre DVD for a workout that is, as founder Carrie Rezabek promises, “the fastest, most effective yet safest way—thanks to the small nonimpact isometric movements—to transform your body.” She describes Pure Barre as a fusion of ballet, Pi-lates and soccer (no, you won’t have to bend it like Beckham; Rezabek likens the athleticism of the regimen to the sport). And while the original workout calls for a ballet barre and weights, the new series of DVDs, launching this year, doesn’t require any particular equipment.

 

 

4) DIVE INTO A HEALTHY CYCLE OF STRESS MANAGEMENT—AND GAIN GREATER PHYSICAL BENEFITS QUICKER.
Although a little retail therapy may be your go-to method for relieving stress, exercise is an even better approach. “Exer-cise also provides a distraction. It allows you to focus on something other than the source of stress,” says John Bar-tholomew, associate professor in the department of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin Also, recent study findings at the university show that people with low-stress levels gained greater strength when com-pared to people with high-stress levels over a three-month training period. So it’s a win-win scenario: your workout will reduce stress, and low stress will help you get that hot bod at an even faster rate.

5) EAT HEALTHY (AND THAT DOESN’T MEAN BORING).
“Really, 80 percent of weight loss is about diet,” says To-ronto-based registered dietitian Leslie Beck. “Whatever plan you map out has to be realistic, sustainable and one that you enjoy.” So don’t deprive yourself of your favourite foods, because you can end up guiltily binging. Instead, treat yourself once a week. “By eating [a treat] occasionally, you won’t feel deprived,” explains the author of The No Fail Diet: The Easy 4-Step Plan for Permanent Weight Loss.

 

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