Six ideas to keep your fitness-drive going this autumn
Take this push-up challenge. Start a timer. Do 1 push-up during the first minute; do 2 push-ups during the second; 3 during the third, 4 in the fourth, 5 in the fifth and so on until you can’t go on. It will take between 7 and 30 minutes, I reckon. It sounds a bit silly with 1 push-up in the first minute, but it does really work. A client did it the other day and failed on the 13th push-up in 13th minute… Good luck.
Read Fast Asleep by Dr Michael Mosley. The BBC doctor who wrote the Fast Diet turns his attention to sleep, offering practical, nutritional and medical ideas in his unique down-to-earth style. I find that when I am tired, others things – such as exercise and nutrition – get harder. I am low on energy and make poorer decisions. So, this was the first book I read in lockdown and now refer back to it regular. A great primer.
Do short, fast, intense cardio. Try a Tabata, a four-minute training method that is great for improving your fitness. It involves eight sets of maximum-effort intervals, with 10 seconds of rest in between. It brings tremendous increases in aerobic fitness and it torches calories for hours afterwards as it sends your metabolism into overdrive. Sprinting, mountain climbers, squat jumps, jump lunges, kettlebell swings, tuck jumps, burpees or clap press-ups would be perfect. You need a programmable timer that bleeps to tell you when to start and stop without you having to look. There are plenty of apps available.
Find inspiration with former Labour MP Tom Watson’s book Downsizing. He tells how he lost 8st (50kg) and went from a unhealthy, unhappy diabetic to man who is embracing his 50s. Take it as a case study and guidebook as he reflects on successes and failures and what he found to work. Truly inspirational. Here is the man who should be the nation’s fitness tsar as we trying to become a fitter country after the pandemic.
Swim in London Fields Lido to build endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It was a long wait but it’s open and now bookable online or via our Better UK app.
Keep those park training sessions going. It was amazing to walk around Well Street Common in the early days of lockdown. I had never seen so many people doing squats in one place (including when I worked in gyms!). Here’s a routine to keep them going. Pick a point and run – fast there slow back – maybe about 25 metres. Then, do 12 squats on a ratio of 10 normal and 2 jump. Then run again for four more rounds, with the squats in between going 8 jump and 4 normal, 6:6, 4:8 and finally 2:10.
Image: Marcus Ng via Unsplash