Shape up for the party season with a few lifestyle changes

Top tips: Follow personal trainer Rob Cooper's advice to get in shape for the festive season
Top tips: Follow personal trainer Rob Cooper's advice to get in shape for the festive season
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With party season approaching, you might be thinking about squeezing into that little black dress, or your favourite pair of jeans.

But perhaps you’ve not quite shed those extra post holiday pounds and you’re not feeling in shape to look your best at all the forthcoming soirees.

Making some simple changes to your lifestyle now could have a big effect over the coming weeks – and leave you feeling and looking ready to go out and take on the dancefloor.

Personal trainer and nutrition expert Rob Cooper, from Blackpool-based LC Performance, offers Eve readers his top five tips.

“As long as you stay on the right track for the majority of the time, and combine frequent exercise with sensible food choices, you’ll get results quicker than you may have thought possible.

“The key thing to remember is it’s all about being consistent on a daily basis. Don’t feel guilty if you do mess up from time-to-time, we’re all human!

“These bodyweight compound exercises can be done anywhere – which means time and location are not excuses to not start making positive changes in your life and physique.”

TIP 1 - PUSH-UPS

Rob says: “An under-used and under-rated exercise, the push-up is not only the most accessible but one of the most effective exercises.

“It’s a compound exercise – meaning it’s a multi-joint movement, incorporating several different muscles. It uses chest, back, arms, shoulders and core – talk about getting the most bang for your buck!

“If you are already strong enough to compete 10 push-ups easily, try a different tempo.

“For those learning to master the push-up, the stepping stone towards being able to do full push-ups is to do them on your knees.

“Support your knees with padding if uncomfortable and make sure you hinge from your knees, keeping your backside low and chest up (imagine a drawbridge being raised) – lower your chest towards the floor.”

Try this: Take four seconds lowering your body to the ground and explode back up from the floor, pushing elbows towards each other and squeezing the chest together.

TIP 2 -BODYWEIGHT BENCH/CHAIR DIPS

“Because it doesn’t involve using weights or you may not be in the gym, people perhaps don’t think to use this exercise.

“Similar to the push-up in terms of muscles used, but this is great to ensure the chest is used from every angle.

“The key is arm and body position: keep your chest/head high, back straight, elbows around shoulder-width apart and close to the body. Imagine your elbow is a hinge and everything else completely still and fixed. To make it more effective, lower for three or four seconds, then press up in a quick, powerful movement.”

Make it harder: Legs out straight in front

For beginners: Bend at the knee and bring heels closer to body

TIP 3 - BODYWEIGHT SQUATS

“When done right, the squat is the most effective exercise anybody can do, especially once you progress and add weights. But for now, try the bodyweight version.

“Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, push your backside slightly back, keep your chest up and open, with your head up.

“Hold arms crossed, with elbows high, fingertips resting on your collarbone. Keep elbows high, throughout the entire movement.

“Focus on pushing your backside back and down (imagine it as an anchor dragging you down). Drive the knees slightly outwards, keeping the back straight and chest up.

“Control it for four or five seconds on the way down – a slow and controlled tempo puts the quads (muscles at the front of thighs) under more tension.

“On the way up – control the abs, keep your back straight and tight, force your chest and head up and push the floor away from you with your heels.”

TIP 4 – QUICK CARBS TIP

“If your goal is fat loss, try having carbohydrates only after training – especially if you train later in the day. This will help keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable throughout the day, and after exercise your body can effectively use the carbs you provide it with – when it needs them the most. Carbs are non-essential, the body doesn’t actually need them to survive.

“Keep sugars to a minimum, as they can cause blood sugar and insulin spikes throughout the day – ultimately leading to fat gain, when not kept under control.

TIP 5 – FATS AND PROTEIN

“A great way to trim body fat effectively, while keeping energy levels up, is a high fat and high protein diet. Yes – high fat!

“Fats are not the enemy contrary to popular belief – in fact, consuming more healthy/good fats, as opposed to more carbs, can actually lead to fat loss. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, it isn’t hard to season something well and add a healthy, home-made sauce to add flavour.”

Examples

Breakfast

Healthy omelette – cook in coconut oil. Whole eggs, throw in some veg (spinach, peppers, mushrooms, onion), feta cheese

Top food items to eat during the day:

Chicken, oily fish or lean red meats

Nuts (natural – not roasted or salted!)

Coconut oil for cooking, olive oil for dressing

Plenty of greens and vegetables

LC Performance offers high-end lifestyle transformation coaching, with a focus on nutritional, physical and mental aspects. It is based in Blackpool and works with individuals willing to give 100 per cent to improve their lives and make positive changes.

Call 0797 2763038, visit www.facebook.com/LCPcoach or email lcperformance@outlook.com