Changing your mindset on exercise and eating healthily can be a big challenge. I know, for me, it took a lot of things to happen in my life for me to realise that I wasn't happy with how I looked or felt. I was eating everything and anything (mostly the unhealthy stuff) and was coming home from work to sit in front of my Macbook and TV and do nothing else. I think it comes to a point where you finally realise what you're putting into your body. After almost everything I ate, I felt sluggish and horrible and it was getting me down. With splitting with my boyfriend, I decided to make the change. It was the kind of 'I'm always going to end up feeling this way if I don't do anything about it' reality check that I needed to give myself. And it worked...
My gym membership, (you know the fancy expensive one that I bought myself and my dad back in January) finally started getting some proper use and I was training almost always 7 days a week. Now, when I say 'training', I don't just mean, a little bit here or there on the bike or the treadmill, I mean, properly going for it. In fact, if there's going to be one thing I say here it's that I absolutely detest the treadmill. Why the hell would you pay for a gym membership, if all you're going to do is run on the spot? It just seems pointless to me. You have all of the running space available outside for free. Anywho, I've been really getting into the fitness side of things (more on my healthy eating later) and some of the exercises I've been doing are simple yet effective. You don't even need to have a gym membership to do them!
Ab exercises are one of my favourites to do (my god, do you feel it when you first start - every time I sneezed it hurt!) They don't need any 'special equipment' and as long as you've got enough room to lie down, you've got enough space to exercise your abs! If there's one thing you should know before I give you all these exercise moves, it's that I am not a professional. My ex boyfriend was a personal trainer and I learnt a lot of this from him. I'm not claiming to know everything, I'm just sharing the knowledge! When I exercise my abs, I usually do 3-5 sets of 5 different core exercises. It can get difficult and hurt at times, but that's when you know you're working the muscle. Christ, if I can get my dad working these with me, they've got to be a good one!
My usual Abs workout:
Sit Ups - 10 reps
Russian Twists - 10 reps
V-Sits - 10 reps
Leg Raises - 10 reps
Cycle Crunches - 10 reps
Obviously, to tone up with these exercises and notice the difference in your tummy, you'll need to get the fat off. Now, I'm not one of these girls who thinks I'm huge and hates every part of me, but I do know that I'm not as fat-free as I thought I was. I have my 'podge' (as I like to call it) on my stomach and my thighs aren't as thin as I'd like them to be, but with some simple workouts, I can burnt the fat. My favourite method of fat burn is a nice long swim. To some people, this can be so laborious and tedious and every other fancy word they can think of, but to me, there's nothing better than getting in the water and just swimming. It's a great way to de-stress and just a great place to think or completely switch off. The pool at the gym I go to is 20m, the perfect size for doing lengths and all one depth. I try to do 500m every day and a good 1000m swim at least two of those days. Fat burning comes when your muscles are tired, so I try and swim for as long as I can at a steady pace (even if beating my PB is always still at the back of my mind). Since I started swimming religiously again, I've definitely noticed myself trimming down!
Another thing I've been loving recently (and something that you can do either at home / at a class - unlike swimming), is Boot Camp. Myself and Eltoria have started going to our local bootcamp which is held at my gym. For less than £5 we have an hours hard workout session outside, no matter what the whether is! It's great fun and we get a lot done. Jodie, who run's Blacklands Boot Camp is a personal trainer and boy is she lethal when it comes to the bleep test and circuits! We definitely work up a sweat and feel so much better when it's all over. Some simple (yet bloody hard working) exercises that Jodie incorporates in her bootcamp (and some I've learnt from my ex) are below, they're such good all-round work outs and keep the heart pumping!
Boot Camp home exercises:
Burpees - 1 minute
Squat Jumps - 1 minute
Press Ups - 1 minute
Bear Crawl - 1 minute
Keep count of how many you do and try and beat them next time!
As much as these exercises are easy to do at home if you haven't got time to get to a class, there's nothing better than being able to do these with other people around. The atmosphere at bootcamp is great and you know you'll always be pushed that little bit harder if someone else is giving the orders. I know Jodie and Nathan definitely keep me on my feet and never let Eltoria and I slack when it comes to holding the 'broken seat' squat position for 2-3 minutes at a time, or even the plank position for what feels like forever!
Let me know if these tips and tricks have been good for you and if you'd like to see anymore from this series, I'm planning on doing a Youtube video soon of my workouts so that you can see how each exercise is done and how much fun Eltoria and I have working out! I'm also planning on doing a 'Healthy Living - Healthy Eating' post soon so let me know in the comments what kinds of foods you'd like to see!