With the holidays coming to an end, getting into shape and adopting a healthy workout routine is at the front of most people’s minds. Abhinav Malhotra, Master Trainer from Fitness First Middle East, shares his advice on getting back into the gym and shedding those post-holiday kilos.
It might be tempting to just dive headfirst into exercise; however, it is very important to take at least five minutes to warm-up before starting. A good warm-up session helps to prepare your body for activity by getting the heart rate up and releasing tension in muscles.
Begin with eight reps of both inward and outward hip and arm circles followed by some form of cardio such as two minutes with a skipping rope. For an intense warm up, consider a session on a slightly inclined treadmill, swapping between walking and sprinting every 30 seconds.
Now, you should move on to exercises that challenge you the most. Burpees are a great fat burner for full-body training. You should aim to complete at least three sets of 25 reps or do as many as you can until you begin to ‘feel the burn’. You can mix it up with some other variations of the exercise like burpee pull ups, burpee knee ups or even burpee box jumps.
As a compound exercise, which includes more than one muscle at a time, squats help to burn a lot of calories both during and after the workout session. Aim for a high volume for conditioning the muscles and fat-burning effect – perform three sets of 10-15 reps using a barbell or kettle bell to introduce more resistance into the workout.
Walking lunges are another brilliant calorie burner as they also target all the major muscles in your lower body, whilst simultaneously improving your balance and core strength. Again, for conditioning and calorie burn, three sets of 20 -30 reps each should do the trick.
Mountain climbers are a great way to improve hip joint mobility, core stability and rev up the heart rate, burning calories. Ideally, you should try to complete at least three sets of 15-20 reps on each side. You can also try to swap between walking lunges and mountain climbers for three sets.
A great upper body workout focusing on the horizontal pushing movement. They target the pectoral muscle, front shoulder and triceps muscles primarily while also engaging the core. Around 10-15 push-ups per set is a good starting point. If you cannot do a floor push up, you can perform push-ups on a bench or a high box as a regression.
How to perform
You can perform two to three sets of each exercise with rest intervals as per your fitness levels.
If you are an intermediate or advanced trainee, then you can also choose to perform these in a ‘circuit training’ manner – three circuits as quickly as possible of back to back exercises with little or no rest.
Stretch It Out
Just like warming up, a post workout stretching sequence is just as important after all that intense exercise. Give your body a treat by going through static stretching exercises, targeting your legs, chest, back, arms, calves and hamstrings. Stretching relieves the tension in the muscles, relieves some of the pain and promotes blood flow for muscle recuperation. Remember to practise slow breathing while stretching for relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.