Begin with a light stretch
Before undertaking any exercise it is important to stretch and warm up all you muscles, especially those you plan on working out – arms, legs, back. This is to prevent injury and to get your body right for the beginning of your workout.
Easy cardio exercises
One of the best ways to burn off fat and begin to get toned is by doing some high paced cardio workouts. Here are four simple cardio workouts to try out from the comfort of your own home.
1. Running on the spot – running is the ultimate cardio exercise however just because you don’t have access to a treadmill or the dark, damp nights prevent you from running the roads, does not mean running is not an option. Running on the spot can be very effective if done correctly. While running in place practice getting your knees high and lift your arms opposite arm to opposite knee. Aim to do this in 60 second intervals, trying to do a minimum of 10.
2. Knees to chest – bring your knees up to your chest as high as you can, pumping your arms to help get them higher. This simple exercise works so many parts of your body and you’ll certainly feel it taking effect. Aim to do this in reps of 10.
3. Star Jumps – beginning in a relaxed stance with your feet shoulder width apart, begin to squat downward and then explode up as quick as possible with both your legs and arms spread outwards away from your body in the shape of a star. Aim for reps of 10 – 20 here depending on your fitness level.
4. Burpees – one of the toughest cardio exercises you can do at home, burpees are an extension of a simple squat in which you drop your body down to the ground so you are completely flat on your stomach, then lift your feet to a squat position before jumping up in the air all in one movement. Not an easy one but once you master this you’ll certainly begin to feel the benefits to your core.
Upper body exercises
5. Shadow boxing – you’d be surprised how much this can help your upper body and you can literally perform this anywhere. Push your arms out away from the body performing boxing jabs, moving your feet each time. Try to do this in five one minute bursts to begin with. Once you become more competent with it, add in some dumb bells while carrying out your jabs.
6. Press ups – an exercise that is incorporated into nearly every training program, they target your arms, chest and core. We’ve gone one step further and given you two types of press up to work that little bit harder.
a. Wide arm start from a normal press-up position but spread your arms wider than shoulder width apart. This focuses more on the chest muscles.
b. Narrow, again a normal press-up position only make a triangle shape with both hands (thumbs and index finger of each hand). This focuses more on your triceps.
7. Sit ups – designed to help strengthen the abdominal muscles. Lie down on the floor, with your legs bent at the knees, then slowly rise until you are sitting upright. Try to do these in reps of 10 – 20, and as you become better you can begin to bring your knees to your chest when performing the sit up as well.
8. The plank – this is a basic isometric exercise that helps strengthen your entire body focusing mainly on your core, lower back muscles and shoulders. We have listed two types of plank for you to do in 30 second intervals.
a. Front Plank Lie on your stomach with arms bent, palms and forearms on the ground, fingers pointed forward, legs extended, and toes tucked under. Avoid arching your lower back, hiking your hips upward. Hold for 30 seconds.
b. Side Plank – Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Turn around so that you’re lying on your right side and repeat.
9. Squats – essentially you are using your body weight here. Get as low to the ground as you can and up again as many times in a minute, using your arms to drive your legs forward towards your chest.
10. Double calf raises – this exercise is designed to work the lower calf muscles. Keep both feet together and raise up and down on your tip toes holding at the highest point for 5 seconds at a time. Simple but effective.
11. Mountain climbers – this is a very intense exercise designed to work on your quad and calf muscles. Get into a press-up position and lift your opposing leg and arm at the same time (right leg, left arm and left leg, right arm). This will not only help to tone your leg muscles but also works on your core.
12. Forward lunge – this focuses on your quads, hamstrings and glutes. Begin the lunge in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a step forward with one leg and bend the other, alternating between two legs for 30 secs.
Try to perform the 12 exercises outlined above in circuits of 2 – 3, at least 3 times a week. It shouldn’t take you much more than 30 minutes and can all be done from the comfort of your own home. Add in a gentle run or walk twice a week and you’ll be ready to get the better of the dreaded ‘get fit’ New Year’s resolution.
Remember to rehydrate
Rehydration is important before, during and after all exercise. Whether you’re a serious athlete or a recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. If you’re not properly hydrated your body can’t perform at its highest level.
Get your nutrition right
What you eat before, during and after exercise can affect your performance. Eating the right diet will help with your training and to recover more quickly. Adding some Shelled Hemp to your smoothie is an ideal way to up your protein intake and boost your energy levels. Or try these tasty pre-workout pancakes for a quick and easy boost before your training session.