10 Easy Steps to Ditch That Winter Weight

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If you're determined to lose weight and get fit this year, now is the perfect time to change your ways. Here's our advice for creating an exercise routine and maintaining it...

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New Year is the perfect time to change your ways, whether that means eating less chocolate or strapping on your gym gear and hitting the park for a jog.

But we all know super strict New Year’s resolutions don’t work – all they do is put us under pressure and make us feel naff when we fail. No one needs that!

The trick is working out a manageable fitness routine that you know you can stick to and won’t leave you feeling miserable. Here’s our top advice for squeezing the right amount of exercise into your week without it taking over your life…

Don’t over commit yourself

You’re pumped and ready to shift those extra pounds, but don’t let your enthusiasm cloud your judgment. Can you really handle 12 exercise classes a week, plus 6am jogs and a kale diet? Probably not! Don’t go crazy and you’ll find your routine is easier to achieve – plus you won’t be left with any of those self-imposed feelings of failure.

Be practical about the time

If you’re working a full time job, looking after the kids and staying on top of the daily chores, weekly big shop, trips to the vet (we could go on) make sure carve out time in a practical way. Even if a class is only an hour, you’ve got to factor in travelling there, getting in your kit and showering afterwards…this could take you closer to two. Avoid stress by giving yourself some wiggle room.

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Start slowly

Don’t kid yourself by booking in to an ‘advanced class’. There’s nothing wrong with starting at the bottom of the ladder and working your way up. Plus, at an early stage in your fitness regimen it’s probably not a good thing to see the bikini clad, rock hard modelesque ladies delicately glowing into their designer sweat pants. Nope, we don’t care about any of that!

Get kitted out

If you’re serious about a long-term fitness routine, it’s probably worth investing in some decent gear. We’re not talking designer clobber, but a good quality pair of running shoes, trousers and a breathable top will certainly help get you in the mood.

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Find what type of exercise is right for you

Yoga, Zumba, SoulCycle, football in the park, netball? Just because the movie stars seem to love jogging doesn’t mean you have to – there are hundreds of types of exercise, so you need to find what works for you. Try a number of different classes and group activities before you say the dreaded words… ‘exercise just isn’t for me’. We promise, it is!

Mix-and-match to avoid boredom

Once you’ve found something you like, don’t stick to it like glue. A bit of variety in your exercise routine will help to keep the boredom at bay. Try a weekend swim, a twice-weekly exercise class and maybe one run a week – those things combined should get your heart racing and keep your brain active.

Try short sharp bursts

High intensity training (also known as HIT) is a great way to cram body-boosting benefits into 30 minutes or less. Trust us, you’ll never work as hard in your life, but you can be in and out the door in less than an hour. The same goes for other aspects of your fitness routine too – try 20-30 minutes and then stop. Who said a run needs to last an hour? You’re your own boss!

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Hack your life for success

Now, we don’t recommend copying Homer Simpson, but there are certain shortcuts that could help your fitness routine. Keep your gym gear by the bed and put it on first thing when you wake up – you can be out the door in 5 minutes and back 20 minutes later before everyone else is awake. Use your freezer to store lots of healthy juices, clear your house of tempting junk food and get off the bus one stop early to give your legs a workout. What about desk-exercises like bum clenches? Yep, you may feel like an idiot, but you will benefit in the long term…

Don’t give up

Yes, it sucks. It’s boring. It’s sweaty and gross. But a strong healthy body is worth it! Plus, the more you run, swim, dance or spin, the easier it will become – your heart with catch up and you’ll be able to push yourself further. Nobody likes a quitter, so hold your head up high and keep going!

Beware of injury, pain or problems

Did you know doctor’s surgeries fill up at the end of January with New Year’s resolutions related injuries?! Seriously, so many people throw themselves into fitness and forget to look after their back, joints and muscles. Start slowly and stop if anything hurts – tiredness is good, but shooting pains are a definite no-no.