It’s the same every year, I over indulge on the Christmas goodies and, by the time January comes around, I’m ready to say, “Goodbye,” to those extra pounds. But diets are so restricting and exercise is boring, right? Wrong.
It doesn’t have to be!
Anyone that knows me, knows I’m a massive foodie and I’m always busy, so sticking to a super strict diet and exercise regime just isn’t for me.
Instead, follow my 5 tried and tested tips for keeping fit and healthy:
Whether you’re a seasoned gym goer, or an exercise novice, we all have to start somewhere, right?
If you’re seeking a fitness regime for beginners at home, look no further than The 30 Day Abs Challenge.
I love The 30 Day Abs Challenge because it eases you in slowly and gives you daily goals, but, more importantly, you get results. Here’s the exercise regime I have used in the past:
I own no rights to this image. I am unable to find the original creator, but kudos to whoever did; you’ve changed my life!
Don’t panic! I know it looks scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
I am guilty of not sticking to this challenge as strictly as I should, but that doesn’t matter. Some days you just don’t have the time. My advice is to try and follow it as best as you can. Don’t focus on the ‘30 day’ part; I usually just keep at it until I feel happy with my figure again. If it takes you 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, who cares? You’re still smashing those goals, and you should be proud of that. I find that the amounts don’t matter too much, neither. So long as you’re gradually increasing the exercise, you’ve got this! If you can follow it exact, great, but some days I have the drive and energy to push myself more, and others I’m just far too tired to churn out those 100 sit-ups.
Soups, Smoothies and Salads
Healthy eating can be fun!
Don’t fall into the trap of picturing a boring bowl of soup, flavourless salad and a bitter, green smoothie. Healthy eating can be so much more than that, and I’ll tell you how.
I try to incorporate at least one soup, smoothie or salad into every day, Monday to Friday, or two, if I’m feeling super healthy that particular day. That’s it, that’s all you have to do. I find that the best way to do this is to make your own from scratch. That way, you know exactly what has gone into your meals, making sure your ingredients are all natural and healthy, with no nasty surprises. This is great for meals on a budget, too. Stop eating out for lunch and make your meals the night before; your bank account will thank you for it.
I swear by vegetable soup, personally. It’s super healthy, cheap to source, easy to make and can be cooked in bulk for the whole week. Check out my Simple Homemade Vegetable Soup Recipe here.
Smoothies make a perfect breakfast. I prepare mine in the morning before work, using my Blend Active, which blends the smoothie into the bottle you drink from, meaning minimal mess and fuss. It only takes 5 minutes to prepare and keeps you full right up until lunch. My personal favourite breakfast smoothie is banana, low fat yoghurt and frozen berries.
- One banana
- A few spoonfuls of low fat yoghurt
- A handful of frozen berries.
This simple recipe makes a tasty, filling breakfast any day of the week.
There are so many simple smoothie recipes available online. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and give something different a try. (Blog post about my favourite smoothie recipes to come. Watch this space!)
So many people hate salads, cringe at the thought of eating one, and I don’t understand why. Stop what you’re doing, you’re making them wrong! Salad is honestly one of my favourite meals, and I think that’s because I really mix it up with ingredients. Be adventurous, be bold, go where no salad has gone before. As long as you’re using healthy ingredients, honestly, your waistline will show the hard work.
A basic salad I would make for myself might include:
- Salad leaves
- Cherry tomatoes
- Spring onion
- Some kind of key ingredient; Chicken, Feta Cheese, Falafel, etc…
- A small amount of dressing; Light mayonnaise, Vinaigrette, Coleslaw, etc…
- Black and white pepper (I like mine with a little kick).
- My secret ingredient: Grapes. (Honestly, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it)
The world really is your oyster, though. Choose whatever healthy ingredients you like, cut them up quite small so you can get a good variety on your fork, and let your taste buds do the talking.
I usually choose to eat my ‘healthy’ meal for lunch, and then reward myself with something more for my evening meal, but do whatever works around your schedule. Whilst you do not need to maintain the soup, smoothie, salad rule for all meals of the day, ensure you’re not over compensating on the larger meal. Eating a super healthy salad at lunch and then an entire pizza to yourself in the afternoon isn’t really going to show the results you’re hoping for. Moderation is key.
5 Fruit and Veg a Day
I know, I know, we’ve all heard this one before, but it is something I find really helps with my health and fitness regime. Five whole pieces of fruit and veg a day may seem unachievable, but, if you’re sticking to my soups, smoothies and salads tip, then you’ll probably find you’re already well on your way to that magic number.
I tend to make mine up in snacks. When you’re feeling peckish, grab an apple or some carrot sticks to stop you reaching for that bar of chocolate or bag of crisps. The fruit and veg will keep you fuller for longer, and you’ll feel better for it, too. I cut mine up into a bowl so they’re easy to tuck into whilst I’m busy with other tasks.
We’ve covered Abs Challenge, which focuses more on toning up and developing muscles, but, if you’re really wanting to shift the pounds, cardio is your new best friend.
Jogging, once you get started and into a proper regime, can be so rewarding. Buy some decent running shoes and an armband for your phone, and away you go. I have a Spotify playlist simply named ‘Cardio’, which is full of upbeat music to really get me in the mood to push myself further. I also regularly use the Nike+ Running App to help track my progress.
I find it takes a while to fall in love with jogging, but stick with it, it will happen. Once you’ve established a routine, jogging can be really therapeutic. You’ll find time to unwind, organise your thoughts and the endorphins will feel amazing when you hit a new target, trust me. Do as little or as much as feels right for you, but I try to stick to going for a run at least once or twice a week. The same as with Abs Challenge, I start off small and build up to longer distances.
If running outdoors isn’t your thing, try signing up to your local gym and hopping on the treadmill, or even some activities at home. Interactive platform games like Just Dance are so much fun, and really good for burning those extra calories. If you’re lucky enough to have gym equipment in your home, dust those off and show them some love, too. Every little helps.
Calories Don’t Count At The Weekend
My favourite, and most important, health and fitness tip; Calories Don’t Count At The Weekend.
Life is short, so don’t take it too seriously. If you’ve been working hard all week, you deserve a reward by the time Saturday rolls around. Obviously, again, this is in moderation. Eating your body weight in Ben and Jerry’s, though it sounds amazing, really isn’t what I’m getting at here, but order that takeaway, have a few extra squares of chocolate, you’ve earned it!
My health and fitness tips are tried and tested by me. I’ve followed these when I’ve wanted to ‘keep fit’ for the last few years and have honestly found I achieve great results every time.
This photograph was taken early last year, after several weeks of following my health and fitness regime. Sure, I haven’t got the best figure in the world, but I definitely achieve more tone and become happier with my overall body shape. I can’t wait to start again this year.
Best of luck for your 2018 health and fitness journey!