Your guide to getting fit
Do you want to fit into clothes from yesteryear? Lose that baby belly, or food belly? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Run faster?... Don’t we all? Whatever you want to achieve, start with simple, measurable and realistic targets. Break your goals down and set them to time limits to avoid frustration. For example, think what you’d like to achieve by, let’s say, Valentine’s Day, by the time of your next holiday, or by this time next year. Visualise what it would be like to be successful and print out your goal and post it on your fridge or your bedroom door to focus on the end result. Follow my eight simple tips to keep to task and get on your way.
TIP 1: Ask for help
While the support of a fitness coach can make all the difference, asking for the support of your family and friends is a great idea. Just tell them what you would like to achieve and ask them to support you to get you there. You may even inspire them to come with you on your fitness transformation!
TIP 2: Make it fun
If you feel under-enthused by endlessly pounding on the treadmill and the whirring of the stationary bike then find classes, activities or sports that you enjoy. Be open to trying new ideas to challenge yourself, boost your form and keep your sanity.
TIP 3: Keep the music fresh
Don’t make your ears suffer stale old music you’ve had on shuffle for months or that terrible music that the gym blasts out. Create a big, varied and high-energy playlist of your favourite tracks and change it often.
TIP 4: Buddy up
Having a friend to work out with makes you more likely to stick to your fitness plan. Invite friends, family and co-workers to join your classes; work out with your partner. Schedule the workouts like any other important activity and encourage each other to stick to it! And if you’re new to Doha, joining a fitness class is a great way to meet new people and make fitness friends.
TIP 5: Log your workouts
Record what you did in each session, how long for and how you felt afterwards. You’ll monitor your progress and have a visual reminder that it’s time to get moving!
Tip 6: Reward yourself
Pat yourself on the back from time to time. Think about what motivates you and have something fun to look forward to after you reach your targets, like a night out or a lesson in a new sport (how about a golf or sailing lesson)? However, please don’t reach for the super-sized chocolate bar to reward yourself – avoid edible rewards – especially if weight loss is your goal.
TIP 7: Dress the part
Treat yourself to a new piece of fitness fashion. You’ll look good in them and perform best when you’re comfortable and feeling great.
TIP 8: Don’t beat yourself up!
Instead of scrutinising yourself, be patient and stay positive. If you have a set-back or lose track, don’t get stressed, feel guilty or give-up – have a short rest and then get back on it as soon as you can. Remember: physical activity is for life; focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done! Stick with it, enjoy it and never, never give-up!
We can work it out
Think you’re lacking the time to commit to a fitness regime properly? Or have you over-indulged this festive season and want to get back into shape fast? Here’s a 30-minute workout to set you on your way
Blast up to 350 calories in 30 minutes, build strength and tone-up with this full-body, express home workout. Do it three times a week and add a power walk or slow run to up your calorie burn too. You can use light weights, water bottles or kettlebells for some of these exercises – increase the weights and number of reps as you get stronger.
Nine quick exercises to get you fit as a fiddle…
Spend five to eight minutes getting your pulse raised with some jumping jacks, running on the spot, or skipping. Add in some shoulder rolls, stretches and hip circles and you’re all set. Do each exercise for 90-120 seconds, then rest for 30. Now it’s time to start…
1 Sumo high pull – works your legs, glutes, abs and shoulders
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder distance apart, your toes pointing slightly outwards. Hold the weights in front of you. Bend your knees and push your hips back so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you push up to standing, pull your weights up, close to your body, with your elbows always being higher than your hands.
2 Side jumps - will keep your heart rate in the fat burning zone
Step or hop sideways over a stretched-out skipping rope.
3 Hip raises – works your hips, glutes abs and thighs
Lie on the floor on your back with your feet flat on the floor about a trainer’s distance away from your body and your knees bent. Place your arms out to the sides. Squeeze your glutes, brace your tummy and slowly push your hips up as high as you can; pause for a few seconds and slowly lower your hips to a few centimetres above the floor. Make it tougher by slowly raising one leg at a time and bringing the knees slowly to the chest.
4 Forward and back jumps will keep your pulse rate up
Step quickly forward and backwards over a stretched-out skipping rope.
5 Bicep squat – shape-up your arms and work your glutes and legs too
Start with your feet wider than hip width apart, hold the weights with your arms by your sides, the palms of your hands facing forwards. Keeping your upper arms still, bend your arms at the elbow so that your palms meet your shoulders, and, at the same time, bend your knees and push your hips back into a squat position, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand up straight and push the bottles back down to starting position.
6 Mountain climbers – cardio ab workout!
Get into a push-up position so that you are on your toes, feet hip-width apart, your arms straight and with your hands on the floor a little wider than your shoulders. Don’t stick your bottom up; your back should be in a straight line. Brace your tummy, lift your left foot up and raise your knee as close to your chest as you can. Return to starting position and repeat with your right foot. To target the sides of your tummy, raise your knees towards the opposite shoulder instead of straight up.
7 Chair dips –will work the back of your arms and get rid of those bingo wings
Sit on a sturdy chair and grab the sides of the seat. Taking your bottom off the seat, move your feet forward so that your weight is supported by your hands. Bend your elbows behind you, lower your bottom down slowly, keeping your body close to the chair. Slowly straighten your arms to return to starting position.
8 Squat jumps – squeeze the last few calories out of your cardio workout while shaping up your lower body
With your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, point your toes and knees slightly outwards. Bend your knees and push your hips back to squat position, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Explosively jump up as high as you can, using your arms to power-up. As you land, make sure your knees are slightly bent, then squat down and jump again.
9 Bicycle crunch to work on your waist
Lie on the floor on your back with your feet flat on the floor about a trainer’s distance away from your body and your knees bent. Raise your left knee towards your chest and, at the same time, move your right shoulder towards that knee. Slowly go back to starting position and repeat on the other side.
Cool down and stretch
Cool down by walking around slowly for two minutes and get your breath back. Then make sure you have a really good stretch.
Trends for the new year
What’s hot for 2015 in the world of fitness?
Every year the fitness world adjusts and evolves to bring in new elements to established classes or completely new classes to try. I’ve been keeping on top of the latest trends by participating in fitness conferences, like Fit Pro London, and checking the American College of Sports Medicine’s worldwide fitness trends poll to bring you the 12 latest fitness trends that will get 2015 buzzing!
There’s a good chance you bought a new Fitbit, JawBone or FuelBand, tracked your sleep and steps obsessively for three weeks, only to get bored with charging it and throw it in a drawer. Many find that wearables, or “telemetry” for the real tech geeks, simply don't offer enough information to keep them interested long-term, and we’re still quite a way from technology that will input calories consumed. That could all change with the arrival of the iWatch from Apple and the surge in workouts that track and display your heart rate, distance covered and speed – and this is just the beginning. Many gyms are developing their own apps that can be incorporated into their classes but can also collect data on your workouts and can then personalise workouts for you based on the data.
2 High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is still a hit and is only going to get stronger over the next few years. HIIT involves short bursts of intense activity, followed by a short period of rest or recovery. The reason it’s still growing in popularity is because it can be applied to every type of workout, from running and swimming, to bootcamps, kettlebells, TRX suspension training and to the body-weight exercises we’ll all be seeing more of this year. It works for almost all levels of fitness and results can be fast for most people. Plus the higher intensity means classes are often shorter and it’s hard to get bored with such short bursts of activity!
3 Circuit training
Circuit training is similar to HIIT in its speed and intensity. A group of six to 10 exercises are completed one after the other and in a predetermined sequence and each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise.
With the popularity of high intensity training programmes comes a new trend of restorative workout recovery classes. Get ready to hear more about your “Myofascial tissue” (the thin connective tissue that extends throughout your body to provide support and protection to your muscles and bones) and how looking after it can improve your workouts and decrease injury risk. Workouts like restorative yoga classes and “Self Myofascial Release” (SMR) methods with massage balls and foam rollers are increasingly becoming part of workout routines.
5 Body weight training
Body weight training uses minimal or no fitness equipment so it’s cheap, and will be on the increase this year. There’s more to this than just press-ups and pull-ups; this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness. Strength training will also remain a central fitness regime for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise programme for all fitness levels for both male and females. Don’t worry girls reading this, it is very difficult to increase muscle “bulk” without completely changing your diet and lifting really heavy weights – use strength training to tone-up and look fantastic!
6 Barefoot workouts
While “toes shoes” aren’t everyone’s idea of high fashion, barefoot running has increased in popularity since the late 2000s with shoe companies catching on by selling minimalist running shoes for barefoot-like style. The trend is creeping into other areas of the fitness industry with the benefits of increased balance and strengthening your feet and leg muscles. Be sure to break your feet into this style of workout gradually if you have been used to a lot of structure in your workout shoes – the long-term benefits will be worth it!
Research has shown that people who train in a group environment are more successful than those who try to go it alone. Training in the outdoors with fresh air and not cooped up in a gym is also a huge plus. Make the most of this now before temperatures rise again in a few months!
8 Personal training coaching
Personal training used to be seen as something only celebrities and the wealthiest could afford, but they are more accessible now than ever before. The one-to-one coaching and attention you receive is highly beneficial and can produce amazing results.
The rise and rise of yoga will increase for 2015 with studios and new classes popping up everywhere. Find your inner calm while having a tough resistance workout and stretch to tone-up and increase your flexibility. It’s also a good way of making friends, if you do it in groups.
10 Functional fitness
This is a trend using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programmes for older adults are closely related. Try Kettlebells and TRX for pure functional training.
11 Fitness programmes for older adults
As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programmes to keep older adults healthy and active.
12 Exercise for weight loss
With GCC Obesity Awareness Day fresh in our minds, weight and fat loss has to be central now to prevent more serious implications, such as diabetes. So let’s get moving!
Ali Longmate is a group fitness trainer, personal trainer, fitness writer and a mother of two young daughters. Contact Ali on (5552 6407) or email@example.com. See www.alifitclub.com for more information.