Top tips on boosting your fitness routine, from exercise coach Julia Attias
As a health mentor at Nuffield Health's Covent Garden gym, Julia Attias acts as a coach and support to members.
On a recent web chat here at Zest.co.uk, Julia shared some great tips on how to pump up your workout. Here are some of her ideas:
Q: I walk for 30-45 minutes a day, three days a week. How can I get more out of my walking workouts?
Julia says: I would recommend buying a heart rate watch and strap so you can gauge what intensity you are walking at. You want to be looking at approximately 60-70% of your maximum heart rate (this can be determined by 220 minus your age). This way you can ensure that you are within a “working” zone.
Find out more about heart rate training
'Try and make the walks as brisk as possible, especially if you're not able to up the pace in to a jog. You could also try incorporating some walking lunges into your regime every few minutes. Similarly, I would recommend every 5-7 minutes that you take a breather from your walk, remain in one spot, and carry out some squats (12-18 repetitions). These exercises would target your upper legs and bottom.
'In terms of upper body toning, you could carry out some press ups (on your knees if you cannot do full ones) – these will target your upper arms and chest. If you are feeling more energetic, you could even incorporate some star jumps/burpees to get your heart rate rising that little bit higher.'
Quick walking workout ideas
Q: I go to the gym at least three times a week but still don't have a flat stomach. How can I lose the fat?
Julia says: 'Losing abdominal fat isn’t just a case of doing crunches to tone the area – we need to understand why the abdominal fat is there in the first place.
'Insulin is a hormone responsible for controlling blood glucose levels and is very important, but likes to deposit fat around the abdominal area... Stimulants - particularly caffeine, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes – and stress hormones such as adrenaline will all cause insulin to rise. It might be worth re-evaluating your lifestyle.
'Targeting these areas and reducing where necessary should help to reduce the amount of fat tissue stored around the abdomen. Crunches certainly are not the be all and end all – there are plenty of other exercises you can do to tone the abdominal area – be sure to add in variety and don’t just stick to one type.'
3 steps to a flat stomach in 30 minutes
Q: I don't have much time for the gym. What are the best at-home moves and kit?
Julia says: 'Have a think about buying a couple of dumbbells, perhaps 4 or 5kgs; if you need lighter weights you can use tin cans that you may have in the cupboard. With these weights, you can carry out some exercises on your own at home such as bicep curls, upright row, shoulder press, and also weighted squats and lunges (if you hold the weights in limbo above your shoulders).
'You can also do tricep dips off the edge of a sofa or bed. These types of exercises would certainly help to keep you toned.
'You can also look at "fit-bit" which is a pedometer that would count the amount of steps you do in a day; if you find that you are low on steps (10,000 recommended daily), you can perhaps walk up and down your stairs a number of times to increase the number of steps and raise your heart rate higher so that you get more of a workout.
Work your whole body with the wood chop move
'Alternatively, there are DVDs that contain all-over body workouts for you to do from the comfort of your living room - look for the ones that require little equipment.'
Want more advice? See the full webchat with Julia Attias here.
Posted: 09/03/2013 at 15:05
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