“I don’t have enough time”
Work, family, chores – whatever saps your hours, it doesn’t mean you can’t get the body you want. Don’t hide behind excuses, find practical solutions to your situation. Often, a bit of organisation goes a long way. For instance, keeping your cupboards stocked with wholesome food and planning your weekly meals will help avoid calorie-laden temptation. And, batch cooking healthy dinners is a good way to keep your weeknights waistline-friendly.
When it comes to exercise, we might not all have time to train for a marathon, but we could maybe steal 30 minutes out of 24 hours to work out, even if it means getting up half an hour earlier. If less sleep doesn’t appeal, try to find ways to fit convenient workouts into your day, like walking to work or cycling on the school run, squeezing in a swim or gym session on your lunch break, or catching up with friends over a power walk.
“Many people focus on cardio for weight loss, and think you have to work out for hours every week to slim down, but this isn’t true,” says master PT and founder of Power To Perform Fitness Joey Romeu (p2pfitness.co.uk). “High intensity interval training (HIIT) can increase your metabolism for up to 48 hours, and strength training can boost your metabolism for up to 72 hours, meaning you don’t need to spend as much time exercising.”
Want a body blitzing HIIT you can do at home in under half an hour? Muay Thai fighter and Nike master trainer, Sonja Moses, has created the routine below with Botanic Lab drinks (botanic-lab.co.uk). She recommends completing the workout three times a week to see results.
Super quick HIIT
Complete the following moves back-to-back and then rest for one minute. Repeat the sequence up to three times.
- 10 glute bridge raises
- 10 full press ups
- 10 burpees for beginners
- 10 jumping squats
- 50-100 leg checks (standing, raising knee up in front then out to the side, alternating legs)
- 50-100 front push kicks with knee to elbow variation (alternating legs) OR 50-100 front push kicks full variation (alternating legs)
- Three minutes shadow boxing
“I eat healthily and exercise, but still don’t lose weight”
Firstly, congratulate yourself for making positive steps towards getting fitter and healthier. Not seeing the effects on the scales yet though? It could be down to portion control. Avocados and almonds may be nutrient powerhouses but they still contain calories! “Even though you’re eating well you might be mindlessly munching on more than you think,” say foodie fitness experts and bloggers Emily and Hannah, aka Twice the Health (@twicethehealth). “A food diary is a simple solution to monitor this and can be a great indication as to where you’re going wrong.”
If the main reason you work out is to burn calories, it’s time for a re-think. “Try not to focus on the weight, but on your performance,” says Joey. “Set goals around how far you can run or cycle, how quickly you can complete a distance, or how many squats you can do and try to improve each week. It’s very rewarding and motivating to see this progress.”
Don’t let your routine get stale. “The challenge with weight loss is that your body quickly adapts to workouts – this normally takes around 12 fitness sessions, or four to six weeks,” says Joey. “Some people trying to lose weight follow the same plan for months, sometimes even years, but it loses impact over time.” So why not ask the gym staff to create a new programme for you, and try a new fitness class every month? If you have a cardio heavy routine, mix it up with weights and strength training. “Another way to break through a plateau could be to add in cardio at the end of a strength session, because at this point, the body has broken down a lot of sugar, and will burn more fat during the cardio at the end of the workout,” Joey says.
Emily and Hannah from Twice the Health share their tips for beating a plateau:
l “Don’t mistake thirst for hunger – have a glass of water before reaching for that second snack. Being properly hydrated will help to keep your appetite in check and can also improve energy levels, meaning you’ll probably attack that workout stronger. Dehydration has also been linked to increased cortisol levels which stimulates insulin production. This causes blood sugar levels to drop, which can encourage us to crave sugary, fatty foods.
- “Sleep! Again, a lack of sleep raises cortisol levels, which can lead to increased hunger cravings.
- “Find a form of exercise that makes you happy, be that walking, running, HIIT classes, spin, weights, boxing, swimming, whatever fits!”
“I’m not fit enough for the gym”
“When it comes to wellness, it’s easy to use the blame game: ‘it’s my genes’, or ‘I’m not built for fitness’,” says Pandora Paloma, holistic nutritionist and healer, and founder of Rooted London (rootedlondon.com). “But don’t let an excuse rule you.”
Instead, try to boost your confidence and face your fears head on. You may not feel very active or motivated right now, but a good way to change that is to get out there and start building on your fitness levels.
“My top tip for empowerment is to breathe!” Pandora tells us. “Just five minutes of deep breathing with a mantra can work wonders on your wellbeing. Go up to 20 minutes once a day if you can. Start to focus and settle your breath, then try the simple mantras on the right to support fitness motivation.”
Even the fittest among us struggle with motivation sometimes. When you do, Pandora has this advice: “Remember what’s important: it’s not always about the weight you lose but how fitness makes you feel.”
Feeling inspired? Repeat the following mantras out loud to give yourself a boost
- I am powerful. I have strength
- I make space to strengthen my body
- I chose a life rich in health
- I can do this
- I am disciplined