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Think you haven't got time for a health kick? All it takes is a few minutes... LIFT WEIGHTS FOR... 10 SECONDS Try lifting and lowering w...

Time to get Healthy  Time to get Healthy

Think you haven't got time for a health kick? All it takes is a few minutes...


Try lifting and lowering weights for 10 seconds, rather than the usual couple of seconds to boost strenth. A US study found people who used a slow technique of resitance training showed 50% increase in strength compared to those lifting at the normal, faster speed. Slowing down the movements lifts momentum  and creates more tension in the muscles.


Sprint Interval Training (SIT) on the stairs can boost your heart health in a big way. Researchers form a Canadian university found that you don't need hours at the gym to get fit. In one study, they discovered that sprinting upstairs in short bursts, three times a week, in three 20-second bursts, with two-minute recovery periods improves cardiorespiratory fitness. So leave the lift and spend a little getting breathless on the stairs. Simple!


Pummelling your muscles for this length of time after tough exercise does more than simply relieving tension and pain. Research form McMaster University, in Canada, looked inside a muscle as it was massaged and found that 10 minutes of kneading switches on sensors that reduce inflammation in muscle cells and helped build more mitochondrias, which help muscles repair and grow. Try using a foam roller on your achy bits.


Chewing sugar-free gum for 10 minutes helps remove 100 million bacteria form the mouth - making it as effective as flossing, according to researcheers form the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands. But chew it for longer and some of the bacteria is released back into the mouth - presumably because the gum becomes less sticky after prolonged exposure to saliva. So set a stopwatch, then stop chewing!


That's the max time for a power nap. It can help lower stress levels and leave you feeling more aleert - you should drift off and brain activity should slow down. Don't nap for longer, though, as you want to avoid going into deep sleep, which can leave you feeling groggy.


That's  the ideal amount of time to hold a stretch to keep you flexible after moderate exercise, such as running. Anything less won't lengthen your muscle and tissues enough, but you don't gain much from doing more.


Studies show that walking can cut diabetes risk by up to 60%, and three 30-minute walks a week could protect against demetia. This is because it causes areas of the brain associated with momory to increase in size shich slows down the ageing process.


Reading this long every day could help extend your life. People who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17% less likely to die than non-readers during a 12-year follow-up period. Those who read for longer cut their chances of dying early by 23%, according to research. Reading helps keep your mind active and reduces stress.



Get out of bed if you've been unable to fall asleep, after this time, as lying there awake worrying leads you to associate your bed with being awake and frustrated. Sit quietly in a different room, then only return to bed when you feel you're about to nod off.


While exercise can boost the immune system, overdoing it can have the opposite effect. Research shows 90 minutes of high-intensity exercise elevates production of stress hormones and suppresses our disease-fighting white blodd cells, making us prone to infections. Keep exercise down to 45 minutes of moderate intensity.

You made it to the gym. It’s leg day. You have an hour before you need to get finished and back to work. Time is precious. You circle your a...

Mobility Indicators & Mobility Moves Mobility Indicators & Mobility Moves

You made it to the gym. It’s leg day. You have an hour before you need to get finished and back to work. Time is precious. You circle your arms, touch your toes, check yourself in the mirror, look at your phone and head to the squat rack.


That might be all the mobility work you do before getting under the bar and loading your body up with some weight. And why not? You work hard. You’re looking good. And you’re not injured. You don’t need to waste time on the optional extras.

Except, if you’ve got even a passing interest in getting stronger, or building a body to stand the test of time, you really do. 


Use these three mobility tests to see where you may have issues in reaching full range of motion. These are your opportunity to find out where you need to improve your mobility, so you can apply yourtime in the gym to the best effect


The is a great stretch to see where your hip extension and knee flexion weak points are.

- Bend your left knee and place your shin along the back cushion of a couch (or a chair) with your toes pointed upward.

- Keep your left thigh in line with your body.

- Place your right foot in front, aligning your knee above your ankle.

- Elongate your spine and engage your core and glutes.

- Keep your hips square.

- Hold for at least 45 seconds.

- Switch sides.


This is a posture we should all be aiming towards being able to achieve. Itrequires good mobility at the hips, knees, ankles and the lumbar spine.

- Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart and toes facing forward.

- Squat down as if sitting in a chair. Your hips, knees and ankles will start to flex.As you get lower your knees will travel over your toes (stay in line with your feet) and your hips will drop over your heels to maintain your balance.

- Try to keep your feet flat on the ground.

- As you get lower in the squat, allow your lumber spine to flex into a natural position.

- Hold in this bottom position for ten minutes or as close as you can manage.


This is a test used by many physios to diagnose shoulder mobility issues. It tests internal and externalrotation, as well as adduction and abduction at the shoulderjoint.

- Reach your right arm above your head, with palm facing forward.

- Bend at the elbow and place your right palm on your left shoulder blade. If possible, see if you can place the hand between your two shoulder blades.

- Reach your left arm behind you, with palm facing inwards.

- Bend at the elbow and place the back of your left hand on your right shoulder blade. See if you can place the hand between your two shoulder blades.

- Try to touch the fingers of your right hand and left hand together.


This is a range of exercises that cover top-to-toe mobility



This stretch targets the chest and front of the shoulder.

- Begin in the prone position (on your stomach), with one hand on the floor and your elbow bent, and the other arm extended straight on the floor.

- With your bent arm, press into the floor and shift your weight towards your other hand, to initiate a stretch in your chest.

- Take your time moving in and out of the stretched position, and try to deepen the stretch with each rep.

- Once you’re comfortable in this position, move in and out of the stretch 10 times, then hold for 30 seconds.

- Repeat this sequence for 3 rounds, then repeat on the opposite side.


This stretch allows you to work on shoulder extension and helps you work against that rounded posture we tend to find ourselves in.

- Start in a seated position. You can sit on the floor with your legs crossed or out in front of you. You can also sit in a chair without a back, if that’s more comfortable.

- Clasp your hands behind your back and then straighten your elbows. Sit up with a tall posture and pull your arms up and back as far as you can. When doing this stretch, focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together.

- Move in and out of the stretch 5 times, then hold for 15-30 seconds on your final rep.



As you lean into this stretch, you want your knee to be over yourtoes as opposed to your shin being straight up and down.

- Get into a lunge position, with your knee and foot about hip-width apart from the elevated leg.

- Keep your chest tall and hips square.

- If you need more of a stretch, you can pull your back knee up off the ground.

- Make sure your hips are square with your upper body, and you’ll be in the right position.

- You can also adjust your back leg to make sure you feel a good stretch in your hip flexors.

- Once you find a good position that is challenging, yet comfortable, sink into the stretch for 30 seconds per leg.

Do 3 rounds for each side.


In addition to opening up the hips, the pigeon stretch can help you work on your hamstring and spine flexibility.

- Start with your front knee bent to a 90-degree angle. You can adjust your back knee to what you’re comfortable with, keeping it bent or extending it.

- Rock back and forth, rotating your rear hip towards your front heel, and then towards the back foot.

- Keep your chest up high, and only take the stretch as far as you can comfortably.

- You can enhance the stretch by straightening out your back leg, which puts you into the full pigeon pose, but only do what’s comfortable.

- Set a timer for 30 seconds and work on opening your hip, then switch sides and set another timer for 30 seconds.

- You can repeat this stretch, alternating sides for 2 more rounds.



This stretch targets yourlattisimus dorsi, quadratus lumborum and spinal erectors. It helps open up your back and gets you ready fortorso rotation.

- Get into a kneeling position and stretch your hands out in front of you. If your quads are tight and they keep you from getting into a deep kneeling position, just sit back as far as you comfortably can.

- Move your hands to your right side, so they’re at a 45-degree angle to your body, until you feel a nice stretch. Take the stretch further, if you can.

- Do 10 reps of this stretch, and then hold it for 30-60 seconds.

- Repeat this motion 3 times, then do the same on the opposite side.


A lot of people struggle with spinalrotation, so this stretch will help you open up new ranges of motion.

- Get down on all fours, making sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

- Move one forearm directly under your chest near the midline, and then place the back of your free hand on the small of your back.

- Now rotate your body toward the elbow and look upward to the ceiling. To stabilise your body, press down with your support elbow into the ground.

- Do 10 full repetitions, and hold the last one for 30-60 seconds.

- Do 3 rounds of this stretch, then repeat for the opposite side.

The No.1thing you can do to help reach your weight-loss goals? Keep an eye on how much you eat. You had an hour plus, sweat-inducing, hardco...

Size Matter Keep an Eye on How Much You Eat Size Matter Keep an Eye on How Much You Eat

The No.1thing you can do to help reach your weight-loss goals? Keep an eye on how much you eat.

You had an hour plus, sweat-inducing, hardcore workout this morning, which more than justifies that large stack of protein pancakes for breakfast or the extra helping of pasta at dinner, right? After all, you earned it!

Not so fast. Portion control is one of the most important factors when it comes to dropping a few pounds and keeping them off. You have to consider energy output versus energy intake. “You might be doing a greatjob increasing your calorie burn atthe gym, butthat doesn’t mean you can overindulge when the workoutis over.”

That goes not only for cheat foods like fries and sweets, but also for otherwise healthy fare like fish, Greek yogurt, and nuts. “Too much of almost anything (with the exception of water) can interfere with your ability to maintain a healthy weight”. Overdoing it with one macronutrient, be it protein, carbs, or fat, can also sabotage your efforts.

Of course, it’s nice to reward yourself after you’ve worked hard. It just means you need to balance these added calories with the rest of your diet. “If you really need that mocha latte postworkout, then be more mindful of what you’re eating throughout the rest of the day”.

Use the following guidelines when plating a meal to keep your portion sizes realistic: a palm-size amount of lean protein like chicken or fish; a fist-size amount of carbs such as rice, pasta, potato, or corn; two fists of fruits or veggies; one to two thumb-size amounts of fat like salad dressing, peanut butter, or mayo and a thumbnail-size pour of oil.

Stick with these guidelines and you’ll be way ahead of the curves when it comes to successful long-term weight control. “If you can control portions, you will inevitably be controlling calories, too, and ultimately that’s what will make the difference”.


The Portion Plate is an interactive tool for teaching consumers appropriate food portions. It’s an actual plate that offers a tangible demonstration of how much food we should eat. Not only are the plate’s illustrated portion areas a good guide to follow, but the makeup of a good meal is also presented. This means 1/2 of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, 1/4 of your plate whole grains and the remaining 1/4 lean protein.


Some of your favourite foods can pack a calorie punch in small doses, for example, your nut butters and healthy oils. A digital spoon scale is perfect for measuring smaller amounts of foods so that you don’t increase your calorie intake unnecessarily.


Portion control is one of the most important functions of this cooking gadget. Measuring cooked pasta is the solution to weight control and still being able to eat fun food. From being a pasta maker, spaghetti spoon, pasta spoon and a pasta portion control basket it has its place in the line of the cool kitchen gadgets which are fun for kids as well. Cooking the desired pasta amount for your diet.


Download an app that can recognize 200 calories through photography. Why 200 calories? Because it’s a nice portion size and makes it easy to recognise how many calories you are eating without needing to check the labels. Well it turns out it’s a whole lot of spinach but only half a spoon of peanut butter! 

Like most fit guys, you’re probably addicted to numbers. Chances are you know your max bench and squat, and you might have a pretty good fix...

Turn Back your Body Clock Turn Back your Body Clock

Like most fit guys, you’re probably addicted to numbers. Chances are you know your max bench and squat, and you might have a pretty good fix on your body mass index, too. If you’re super hardcore, you might even know your basal metabolic rate (for the uninitiated, that’s the amount of energy your body churns through when you’re at rest). And no doubt if you’re an endurance guy, you can list your PRs in everything from the 5K to a marathon. But before you get too confident in the story that these numbers tell, especially as they pertain to your long-term health. What is your fitness age? Wait, you don’t know?Your fitness age — even more than your real age — is the key to providing confirmation of your physical prowess or exposing a gaping void at the centre of what you thought was a solid training program. What’s more: Paying special attention to your fitness age, which you can maintain with a very targeted HIIT training regimen, might just save your life years down the road.


Fitness age, which Wisløff introduced to the world in a 2014 study, is rooted in your body’s level of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) — its ability to disperse and consume oxygen. In fact, having great CRF — not to be confused with cardiovascular fitness, which refers only to the heart and blood but not the body’s breathing apparatus — is such an important factor to your longevity and your long-term health that a recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association described it as a “potentially stronger predictor of mortality than established risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes mellitus”. But as Wisløff knows all too well, CRF is difficult to measure — and even more difficult to make sense of once you have it. The surest way of gauging CRF is to calculate your VO2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen you can process during an activity. (The average person has a VO2 max of 30 to 60, with some elite athletes, such as pro cyclists, reaching the 90s.) Since the Nobel Prize-winning Physiologist AV Hill introduced the concept in 1923, the only reliable way to measure VO2 max has been with an exercise test, which asks subjects to push their bodies to exhaustion on a treadmill or a stationary bike while breathing into an ergospirometry system. Even if you endured the process, the larger question remained: What does it even mean? If you’re, say, a 34-year-old guy with VO2 max of 52, how does that inform your health and your training? “When we started this research many years ago”, Wisløff says, “we always told people that they had a VO2 max of 30 or 40 or 50, and then they’d always look at us and ask, ‘OK, well, what is that?’” So Wisløff set off to find a way to do two things simultaneously: 1) easily and accurately calculate VO2 max without the hassle of equipment, and 2) translate the findings into something the average athlete can understand and use to his advantage. Enter fitness age. In 2006 he and his colleagues began conducting an enormous study of cardiorespiratory fitness and other health indicators in 4637 Norwegian men and women, and devised a proprietary formula, which you fill out on his website, that assigns you a fitness age, essentially defined as the average VO2 max of healthy people at any given age. That 34-year-old with a VO2 max of 52? According to Wisløff’s calculations, he’s in fine shape. Generally speaking, the average healthy guy in his 30s has a VO2 max of roughly 49, so the 34-year-old’s fitness age is close to his real age. But he could be doing better, and with the right training regimen, he could easily bring his fitness age down to something on par with a healthy man in his 20s. (Twentysomething males have an average VO2 max of 54.) But if that same 34-year-old found out that he had a VO2 max of 39? Well, he’d have the same fitness age of your typical 60-year-old. He’d be out of shape, with a dangerously elevated risk of developing cardiovascular disease and, according to some studies, cancer and Alzheimer’s. But I know what you’re thinking. “I work out. I run. I lift. Surely my fitness age is super young!” Well, not necessarily. When Wisløff began to measure the fitness ages of his test subjects, he encountered many people who looked fit and worked out but had practically geriatric fitness ages. One group of bodybuilders were lean and muscular, but “their fitness in terms of peak VO2 was very low”, Wisløff says. When he tested amateur endurance athletes — many of whom trained up to 10 hours per week — he also found unexpectedly high fitness ages. That’s because, as Wisløff has consistently found, great CRF is achieved through high-intensity exercise, not long, slow jogging. This has not gone unnoticed by Wisløff’s peers, who believe his greatest accomplishment might not be in creating the fitness-age algorithm — a simple way to estimate VO2 max — but in devising an easy, efficient way to dramatically improve it. Carl “Chip” Lavie, MD, a leading Cardiologist and the author of The Obesity Paradox, told me that he revered Wisløff for expanding “our knowledge of the importance of higher-intensity exercise and its impact on improving fitness and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease”. When Wisløff pioneered fitness age, he didn’t just create a diagnostic tool; he laid the groundwork for developing what might just be the world’s most useful exercise cure.


You can follow these six tips to boost your body’s cardiorespiratory fitness, bulletproofing your health while leaving plenty of time to do all the activities you love: pick-up hoops, distance running, or improving those max bench and squat numbers inside the power rack. Whatever your goals are, here are the six ways to keep your body young.


What limits the body’s ability to uptake oxygen? We know skeletal muscles weren’t the principal problem — they can handle more blood than they can possibly get. We know that the lungs, while crucial, couldn’t be dramatically altered with training. But the heart is highly trainable, and increasing the heart’s pumping capacity — the amount of blood it can pump in a given amount of time — directly increases the body’s ability to uptake and distribute oxygen. In other words, a more efficient, more powerful heart leads directly to a higher VO2 max. But how exactly do you train your heart to be more efficient and powerful?

Two factors govern pumping capacity: maximal heart rate and stroke volume. Your maximal heart rate is inborn. (What’s the best formula? 211 minus your age multiplied by 0.64.) No matter how hard you train, that number will tick down throughout your life. But you can do a lot to increase the stroke volume of your heart. The heart is like any other muscle. It must be loaded to get trained. And the only healthy way to challenge the heart’s pumping capacity is to fill it with maximal amounts of blood for long periods of time.

The heart achieves maximum stroke volume when it’s pumping at 85–95% of its maximum beats per minute. (For most people, the 85–90% range is sufficient.) So if you want to boost your VO2 max, you’ll want to work out within that range of cardiorespiratory intensity for as long as you possibly can. If you do it right, you’ll end up with an “athlete’s heart”, one that’s bigger, contracts more forcefully, and relaxes quicker. “You’ll have a better motor.”


So how exactly do you get your heart rate to the 85% threshold, and how long can you (and should you) keep it there? It usually takes more than a minute of vigorous exercise before you reach maximum stroke volume. That’s easy enough to do — try running, cycling, or rowing really hard for 60 seconds — but the trickier and more exhausting part is keeping your heart rate and stroke volume locked at that rate. The key to mentally and physically sustaining that kind of workload, is to use interval training. It is obvious that one cannot exercise for very long periods of time at 85–95% of maximal heart rate. “But intervals get you up to that needed intensity” and give you enough rest in between “to get rid of lactic acid that builds up during the interval”.

But not all interval training is equal. Sprint intervals of one minute or less can get your heart rate past the 85% threshold, but they just don’t give your heart enough sustained work at its maximum stroke volume. Tabata training with 20-second maximum-intensity intervals followed by 10 seconds of rest can work, but be aware that your heart rate drops as soon as you stop moving. (And the more fit you are, the faster your heart rate plummets.) If your goal is to improve VO2 max, then it’s better to keep your heart pumping consistently at 85% of its maximum rate than for it to be yo-yoing from 75–100% of its max rate throughout your active workout time.

How long is the ideal stroke-volume maximising interval? In theory, make it as long as possible. (If you can push out 30-minute intervals at 90% of your max heart rate, go ahead and do it. Also, congratulations, your VO2 max is almost certainly spectacular.) It was found that four minutes is a length most can manage. It lets your heart pump at its maximum stroke capacity for an extended time, and it’s sustainable for untrained individuals and beneficial to elite athletes looking to boost their already excellent CRF.

It is recommended program is simple: A 10-minute warm-up, followed by four four-minute intervals of large muscle mass exercise (running, cycling, rowing, swimming) broken up by three minutes of active rest (a very low-intensity version of whatever you’re doing). The results can be dramatic.


Ask a random sampling of men and women to name the kind of athlete with the best cardiorespiratory fitness, and you’ll almost certainly get answers like marathoners, triathletes, and Tour de France cyclists. While this may be true at the elite level, it’s often not the case for weekend-warrior endurance athletes, and the reason is simple: Running, cycling, and swimming for long distances won’t push your heart to its maximal stroke volume, so they won’t do a lot to improve VO2 max if you are already in good shape and go hard for four minutes. “Even these people can improve fitness a lot by exchanging two to three hours of running for periods of 4x4 intervals or even 3x3 intervals.”


You’ve seen those heart-healthy labels at the supermarket, and you know that “eating clean” is a good thing for your health. So can you eat your way to a lower fitness age? Nope. Indirectly, it’s important to have a good diet, because if your diet is better, you adapt better to exercise. “There have been some reports that if you drink beetroot juice or stuff with a lot of nitric oxide in it, that may help your cardiorespiratory fitness — and that may be true with untrained people. But as you get fitter, that supplement doesn’t seem to work a lot.” What about training at elevation or working out on the treadmill with one of those Predator–style hypoxic masks? After all, don’t all the top endurance athletes run high up in the mountains? Wouldn’t just living at altitude boost your VO2 max and reduce your fitness age? Nope again. The science on hypoxic masks is thin. Even though there are some believers out there, I know that world-class endurance athletes in, for instance, some cross-country skiing do not use them. While some world-class endurance athletes travel to high altitudes to train, the effect on performance is tiny. If you’re the thirdbest 800m runner in the world and you want to become the best 800m runner in the world, then by all means move to La Paz, Bolivia (altitude: nearly 12 000 feet). But if you’re something other than an Olympian, you’re going to make the same gains if you do all your interval training in Miami.


It is might expect advised to those looking to reduce their fitness age to do nothing but lungbusting sessions of 4x4 interval training. But such a course would be counterproductive. I can’t just do 4x4. I think it’s totally boring to do just that. In his fitness-age-reducing fitness program, days are reserved for fun runs and 60-minute activities like five-aside soccer. Performs 4x4 interval training only a couple of times per week. The rest of the time, works out like an outdoorsy and not especially fitness-obsessed man. He plays a weekly game of soccer and kayaks. 


By now you’ve probably realised that many popular device-based approaches to improving fitness just don’t pass muster when you’re trying to reduce fitness age. Walk 10 000 steps per day? Why? Your heart rate is never going to get anywhere close to a range where you can lower yourfitness age. Exercise for 150 minutes per week? Sure, that sounds good. But what’s your real output going to be? Heart rate is a better measure,Although this by itself does not mean much, it is a good starting point.

The most overlooked — and underrated — cardio machine in the gym just might be the indoor rower. Also known as an ergometer (or “erg” among ...

Indoor Rower for a Total-body and Fat-blasting Workout Indoor Rower for a Total-body and Fat-blasting Workout

The most overlooked — and underrated — cardio machine in the gym just might be the indoor rower. Also known as an ergometer (or “erg” among enthusiasts), the rower offers a highintensity, full-body burn: A 64 kilogram woman rowing at a good pace can blast 119 calories in only 15 minutes. Rowing is multifaceted in its benefits—there is virtually no impact, it can be as intense as you want, and it’s versatile enough for any fitness level.

Many think of rowing as primarily an upper-body work-out, but it actually works the entire body, including your upper back, shoulders, arms, core, glutes, hips, and especially legs. Before you hop on a machine and start pulling, keep in mind that form is the key to getting a good workout and preventing injury. New erg users “tend to pull with their back rather than pushing with their feet, which can lead to back injury,” explains Childs. Newcomers often just go for speed or do the mechanics out of order, both of which compromise results.

To stroke, first push off with your legs, then pivot your back, then pull the handle toward your body, bringing it level with the bottom of your sports bra. Follow that order (legs, back, arms) to aid your technique. Then to come back, aka the recovery, reverse that order: Extend your arms, bring your core forward, and then bend your knees into your catch position. The entire stroke, both the drive and recovery, should be completed in one fluid motion.


Once you’ve got your form set, try this total-body burner. There are no built-in breaks, so just rest as needed.

WARMUP (8 TO 10 MIN.):

Get on the erg and focus on the parts of stroke and recovery to improve technique.


Focus on increasing your stroke rate by taking about 10 to 15 strong strokes at the following pace (strokes per minute): 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 28, 26, 24, 22, 20.

Strength moves:


Hop off the rower and do the following exercises for 45 seconds each: pushups, squats, crunches, planks.


Pick up the pace and row for 20 seconds (try to maintain a 24 to 26 stroke rate), then recover for 20 seconds; repeat. Then row hard for 40 seconds, with 20 seconds of recovery, two times. Finish with 60 seconds of hard rowing, with a 20-second recovery after each.

Strength moves:

Hop off the rower and do the following exercises for 45 seconds each: side plank left side, side plank right side, V-up, Russian twist.


Go as far as you can in three minutes, aiming for at least 600 meters. (If you pass this number, keep going.) Recover for 60 to 90 seconds, then repeat, trying to add an additional 20 meters to your previous distance

Finish with a few minutes of total-body stretching. 

1. Plan your food shopping in advance, keeping in mind what you are going to need in your quest for fat and calorie-control. Then stick to t...

150 Ways To Slim Down Your Meals 150 Ways To Slim Down Your Meals

1. Plan your food shopping in advance, keeping in mind what you are going to need in your quest for fat and calorie-control. Then stick to that list.

2. void impulse buying which is more likely if you have the wherewithal to pay for those impulse purchases/if you shop for food when you are hungry/if you shop when you are too tired to think smart on your feet. Impulse buying is likely to load your shopping basket with foods you never intended to buy, and many of them are likely to be poor choices nutritionally.

3. Read food labels and choose those foods that are lower in fat and saturated fat. You need to be aware of the sources of saturated fats in foods.

4. Buy low-fat versions of dairy products such as skin milk.

5. Be wary of "health food" traps. Tofu, for instance, is high in fat: soybeans, after all, contain oil.

6. Watch out for labels that say "Reduced fat" or "Lower fat" (rather than "Low fat"). Reduced or lower fat does not automatically means low-fat. These terms only tell you that the shelf product contains less fat than the original one-and that does not tell you much. The fat calories may have been "reduced" from 88% to 85% -but the food is still high-fat!

7. Consider fish and poultry as alternative to red meat; they are someone lower in saturated fat.

8. Most store-stocked salad dressings are primarily fat, with most of it coming from oil. Some also contain eggs, cream and cheese. A fat-free dressing will usually list water as its first ingredient, followed by vinegar, sugar in one of its forms (eg. corn syrup), spices, and sometimes lemon juice or tomato paste.

9. Ground chicken can contain both light and dark meat, as well as skin and fat-and more than half of its calorie could well come from fat. To ensure the ground chicken you eat is low in fat, buy lean, skinless portions and grind the meat at home yourself.

10. Cottage cheese stands alone in the category of natural cheeses that get less than 20% of their calories from fat. Among regular high-fat cheese (over 70% calories from fat) are cream cheese (88%); neufchatel (81%); brie (75%); cheddar (74%); and blue cheese (73%)

11. Non-Stick Cookware: If you have ever been guilty of attempted weight loss you will know that one of the prime accessories after the fact (that you failed) is that old-fashioned frying pan which allowed your food to have a gay old time absorbing a great deal of oil and delivering it straight to your hips. In contrast, a non-stick pan allows you to cook food using just a thin film oil. For instance, instead of coating a chicken breast with batter and frying it (which can double the fat), saute it in a non-stick fry pan and you can virtually eliminate the fat...

12. Pressure Cooker: By making healthful cooking a matter of convenience, the pressure cooker makes a practical contribution to your weight-loss effort. Dried beans that normally take an hour and a half, for instance, are done in 10 to 15 minutes, wild rice in less than 10 minutes compared to the usual 45.

13. Blender: Use it make contemporary low-fat smoothies that centre on skim milk (or buttermilk) and fruits. Try, for instance, this breakfast-on-the-run: a banana, a cup of buttermilk, a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of sugar if you must. Top with chopped dry fruits or with fresh fruit of the season.

14. Roasting Rack: Its fat-cutting favour works on the simple principle that, as meat or poultry roasts upon an elevated rack, the fat drips into a pan below, leaving the roast with less fat than if it were allowed to sit around in its own grease.

15. Skewers: It allows you to exercise instant fat and portion control. Your meal-on-a-stick can contain a few juicy bites of meat or fish while its bulk is made up of colourful vegetables-capsicum, cherry, tomatoes, onion, quarters, corn.

16. Steamers: It allows you to retain more nutrients than when you boil foods in water.

17. A Cheese Grater: It will help you to measure out judicious amount of cheese, the most popular varieties of which can contain as much -or-more-fat as well- marbled red meat. The grater should also incorporate a slicer that will make ultra-thin cheese slices with less fuss than a knife.

18. A food scale: It takes the guess-work out of weighing ingredients.

19. Spice and Condiment Tools: Any seasoned cook knows that a little flavoring goes a long way.

20. A Food Diary: An invaluable aid to weight control. At the outset, list the foods you have eaten over three typical consecutive days (preferably including one of the weekend days). Make sure you put down all the nibbles and guzzles and all the spoonfuls of tasting you may have done in the kitchen. Make your entries every day. Don`t trust your memory, If you tried today, could you remember everything you ate three days ago, and in what amounts?

21. Bake, roast, poach, steam, boil or grill foods instead of frying them. Or try stir-frying, with very little fat, using a non-stick work.

22. Wherever possible, avoid using butter, ghee, lard and other sources of saturated fat. Replace them with small amounts of unsaturated fats (e.g. vegetables, oils such as corn oil, groundnut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil or olive oil).

23. Saute meat or vegetables in broth, fruit juice, wine or Worcestershire sauce, instead of oil.

24. Mix one-fourth to one-third of the oil, ghee, butter or margarine in most conventional recipes. It won`t affect the flavour of the food.

25. Make sure the oil is sufficiently hot before you put in food for frying. Cold oil tends to soak into the food.

26. Try lemon juice, vinegar, herbs or spices to season foods instead of butter or margarine.

27. Brinjal absorbs more oil in cooking than any other vegetablefour times as much in deep-frying as potatoes. Try baking or steaming it instead.

28. Shred or grate cheese whenever possible. It helps a little cheese go a lot further.

29. Rinse regular cottage cheese by placing it in a strainer under cold running water. This removes a considerable amount of cheese`s fat (as well as some of the sodium).

30. Add a rich "meaty" flavour to a vegetarian stew without upping the fat or cholesterol by adding two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the pot.

31. Bake, rather than deep-frying, onion rings for, say, a steak accompaniment.

32. Toast, rather than frying, bread cubes for croutons.

33. Make a creamy but low-fat blend for mashed potatoes, using a puree of equal proportions of low-fat cottage cheese and skim milk.

34. Use skim milk (and less sugar) in puddings.

35. Use low-fat curds or low-fat sour cream when sour cream is called for.

36. Replace one whole egg with two egg whites in recipes for cookies, cakes and shortbreads. The fat (and cholesterol) are in the yolk, not in the white.

37. Include sweet spices such as cinnamon and all-spice to make up for the flavour that is lost when fat is reduced. Grated orange rind perks up flavour, too.

38. Use fruit juice instead of some of the fat in cakes.

39. Replace whole milk with low-fat or skim milk.

40. Make single-crust pies: for instance, try a crust made with 1 cup of cream-cracker crumbs and 3 tablespoons of soft margarine.

42. Give that old Vinaigrette a new, slim look by altering proportions. Instead of the traditional three-to-one ration of oil to vinegar, try a one-to-one ratio or even lower say, one part oil to two parts vinegar. You will get around calories per tablespoon instead of the 90 you get in the standard version.

43. For a creamy, thick texture in dressings and dips, substitute sour cream and mayonnaise with pureed non-fat cottage cheese or low-fat cream, low-fat yoghurt, skim milk or buttermilk as a base. Flavour with herbs and spices.

44. You can also slim down your dressing by stretching it with de-fatted stock, wine, honey or fruit juice.

45. Go all the way--- with a nonoil dressing. for instance, vinegar blended with mustard and apple juice--terrific with cabbage, cauliflower and carrot salads.

46. Prepared low-calorie salad dressings are now available around the world, including health-food stores.

47. Skewer small cubes of skinless chicken that have been rubbed with chopped lemon grass, garlic and a bit a salt. This is so flavorful, you won't even stop to remember how healthful it is.

48. Another spice rub for skinless chicken or for fish fillets: combine and grind 2 tablespoons of peppercorns with 3 tablespoons each of coriander seeds and cumin seed. Then add 3 tablespoons of red chili powder, 2 tablespoon of ginger powder and 1 tablespoon of curry powder. Grind till blended, rub on chicken or fish and grill.

49. Use skim milk when making "cream" sauces.

50. Sub for a classic white sauce with a puree of low-fat cottage cheese, thinned with skim milk and mixed with sauteed onion and garlic.

51. Instead of mayonnaise-heavy tartar sauce for fish, try pureed cooked red peppers.

52. For grilled fish fillets, black bean sauce makes a light accompaniment.

53. A mint sauce (mint, vinegar and sugar) is a tangy but fat free accompaniment for hot mutton roast.

54. Alfredo sauce is not the only thing with which to toss pasta. What a pasta sauce calls for is something that will coat the noodles while adding flavour to the dish. Tomatoes alone can do the trick; and they really come alive when they are paired with ingredients like fresh, chopped, garlic, basil, roasted red peppers balsamic vinegar.

55. Another substitute for cream sauce for pasta: White beans (or other beans) pureed with chicken stock and seasoned with herbs of your choice.

56. Beans can also give a dip a creamy texture without the fat. One hors d`oeuvres creation to try: Kidney beans pureed with garlic, red chili powder, powdered cumin seed, lime juice, olive oil and salsa; stir in chopped onion and coriander leaves.

57. Make a guilt-free dip for crudites by beating in a few tablespoons of chopped spring onions into a cup of yoghurt cheese.

58. When buying , select the lean cuts-eye of round, top round, topsirloin, round tip, top loin, tenderloin, flank steak, T-bone (That`s right-any name tagged with "round" or "loin"; they come from the lean, muscular parts of the animal.)

59. If "round" or "loin" are Greek to you and your butcher, eye ball the colour of the meat-pick the meat with the reddest, appearance and the least fat in the muscle.

60. Limit your intake of processed meats such as sausages and luncheon meats. They are usually high in both, fat and sodium.

61. It's hard to tell how much fat there is in mince. Even mince which looks quite red can be very fatty. But you can remove most of the fat: Cover the mince with water and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove the mince from the head and let it stand for a minute or two. The fat will float to the surface. You can now pour off most of the fat and cook the mince immediately in the usual way.

62. While preparing meat, trim visible fat from the outside and in the seams before you cook it.

63. Marinate in lime juice, wine and vinegar, or in non-fat curd

64. Baste meats with broth, tomato, juice or fruit juice, instead of with fatty drippings.

65. Use buttermilk instead of butter to prepare a gravy for, say, beef stroganoff.

66. Try using less meat in a dish, and bulking it up instead with beans or vegetables.

67. Marry a serving of steak with a side-bar of sautéed vegetables, rather than French fries.

68. Let a meat gravy dish stand for a few minutes after it is cooked so that the fat floats to the top; then spoon it off.

69. Even better, refrigerate the dish to congeal the fat, then skim it off. (You can thicken the gravy with flour if you add a little at a time.)

70. Poultry skin is almost pure fat, mostly saturated. Chicken eaten with the skin can be as high in fat as fatty cuts of beef. By removing skin from chicken and trimming all visible fat, you will get about half the fat.

71. The dark meat of chicken is about twice as high in fat as the light meat. Chicken breast is the leanest part of the chicken.

72. Grill, steam or bake fish rather than having it deepfried in batter

73. Similarly, avoid breading fish before frying. The crumbs tend to soak up the cooking oil like a sponge.

74. But is you fry chicken to a crunch or make it sopping in a cream sauce, you will get in more calories and more fat than you would from roasted pork tenderloin. It is what you do with the chicken, lean and skinless as it may be, that makes the vital difference.

75. Except for deep-frying , other methods of cooking chicken are good low-fat approachesroasting, baking, poaching, grilling (even a stir-trying if minimal fat is used). Of all the methods, roasting a whole bird at room temperature melts away the fastest. Use a roasting rack so that the fat can drip into a tray and be discarded.

76. If you are buying tinned fish, pick the one packed in water rather than in oil

77. Use lemon instead of tartar sauce; avoid creamy and buttery sauces.

78. A prime example: 1 cup of skim milk has about the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of whole milk but only traces of fat and half the calories.

79. The flip side of those first guidelines is this-those foods that bring in mostly calories and little else must be the first you hack away at.

80. Watch for the hidden sugars in ready foods. Some breakfast cereals have such high amounts of sugar in its various forms that sugar is virtually the second, if not the first, ingredients in the product. Yet, even health saboteurs like chocolatecoated cornflakes imply that they constitute a nutritious breakfast.

81. Sugar is the chief additive in processed foods. A food label might list sugar in its many avatars; not only "sugar", but also corn sugar, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, caramel, molasses, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, lactose, sucrose. If any of the ingredients appears high up in the listing you will know the product is high in sugar.

82. Use sugar substitutessweeteners-to sweeten puddings, fruit punches, jellies, yoghurt, frozen milk desserts and many other preparations. However, moderate their use. Some of these still have question-marks regarding safety hanging over them.

83. Reduce sugar when baking. A half-cup of sugar per cent of flour in cakes is sufficient if you add more flavouring such as vanilla.

84.Honey has been elevated to a nutritional pedestal for no deserving reason. It brings in as much “empty" sugar as table sugar. It does contain infinitesimally higher amounts of iron, phosphorus and fibre, but so infinitesimally so that they are virtually negligible.

85. Other foods that bring in a lot of calories and little else include fatty spreads and dressings such as butter and margarine: sugary foods such as soft drinks, candy, candy ices, jams, alcohol.

86. Sprinkle bran on soups, on sandwiches, on sliced fruit....on just about anything your imagination and inclination suggest.

87. Make chappattis, pancakes, cakes and muffins with whole wheat flour.

88. Try a wholegrain breakfast cereal. It does not have to be 100 per cent bran.

89. Buy baked goods made with whole grains such as rye breads, crack wheat bread or oatmeal muffins.

90. Add cooked dry beans, peas or lentils to your favourite soups, curries, stir-fries and salads.

91. Eat fruits and vegetables with their peels: guavas, apples, peaches, sapota, tomatoes, potatoes, and cucumber.

92. Eat fresh fruit or stewed fruit, instead of drinking fruit juice.

93. Don`t skip breakfast, It will only induce mid-morning cravings which you will try to satisfy with anything that`s on hand-greasy burgers, samosas, chocolate, whatever.

94. Yes, it was Mark Twain who said that "Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs". But then he was a humorist and while that bit of wit can be a great thing to sprinkle Sunday morning breakfast conversation with, it really should not be part of your personal agenda for starting off the day.

95. Be aware that both margarine and butter have the same amount of fat, though margarine, being made from vegetables oils, has no cholesterol. If you must use one or the other, however, prefer the soft margarine that comes in a tub because it has less saturated fat than butter.

96. Better choices at the breakfast table are to spread your bread or toast thinly with an all-fruit preserve or a plannerbased spread you can make at home, flavoring it according to your choice.

97. Watch for the fat traps at the dining table: pickles in oil, avocados, coffee, whiteners (usually high in saturated fat, sneaking in as "hydrogenated vegetable fat")

90. Starting a main meal with a soup fills you up and takes the edge off your appetite at the cost of just a few calories. But we are talking here of light clear soups-not something like vichyssoire which relies for its flavor on the heavy contribution of butter and cream.

99. If you want soup with a creamy texture without using cream give it body by pureeing low-fat cheese, vegetables, starches, milk and seasonings.

100. Another good idea for starters is a garden salad (with a light dressing). If you fill up vegetables, you will eat less of the more caloriepacked items on the table.

101. Even a glass of water before a meal can help you eat a little less.

102. Snacks are not forbidden. But be aware that some kind of snacks can shovel in calories insidiously. Fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, rice cakes, corn-on-the cob, are smarter snack choices than wafers, chivada, cake, mithai and bhajia.

103. Slim down tuna or chickensalad sandwiches by replacing the mayonnaise with low-fat yogurt.

104. In other kinds of sandwiches, choose mustard over mayonnaise.

105. Bulk up sandwiches by using as much of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and onions as you like.

106. Blot the grease on the top of a pizza with a napkin-you will eliminate up to half a teaspoon of fat per.

107. If you must shovel in nuts while gawking at the TV, make it nuts in their shells. The more time you spend shelling them, the less nuts you will eat.

108. Beware of guilt when you visit or party with well-meaning relatives and friends. It is still customary for many people to equate how much you eat with how much you love them or how much you appreciate their culinary efforts.

109. At parties, exercise control over alcohol. Drinking is often paired with social occasions where higher-fat foods are often available.

110. In a restaurant, ask the maitre for low-fat menu suggestions, or ask him to consult the chef on what alterations can be made to a typical dish.

111. An aperitif is, by definition, an alcoholic appetizer, but since you are turning eating conventions on their head anyway, what`s one more? Instead of a beer or wine, have a jal jeera, nimbu pani or nariel pani.

112. Restaurants offering all-youcan-eat thalis and buffets tempt you to eat all too much. Buffets also offer you no option to order foods prepared the way you like.

114. Names in a menu listing can be misleading. "Macaroni salad" sounds healthful enough, but it is made with mayonnaise and if you don`t know that, you could end up with an unhappy choice. Other salads that come with greasy dressings are potato, coleslaw and pasta salads.

115. As a rule of thumb, choose grilled, broiled, poached or steamed foods: avoid creamed, buttered, fried foods, or those with a cheese sauce.

116. The "Chef`s Special" is almost always a fat trap.

117. When reading menus, watch out for these terms, which are giveaways to fatty foods.

118. Request that added fats, such as salad dressings, sauces, and coconut chutneys be left off or put on the side.

119. And it is is a rich blend, such as blue cheese dressing (90 calories a tablespoon), use a teaspoon, not a tablespoon, to flavour up.

120. Better still, dip your fork into it before taking a bite.

121. Ask whether side-bars can be changed from French fries to steamed vegetables, for instance.

122. Choose tomato-based sauces and soups, instead of cream based soups like vichysoisse or soups topped with cheese such as French Onion Soup.Clear soup is the best.

123. Many restaurants offer salad bars where you can put together your own salad from a range of ingredients. Just watch it will the dressing, and with toppings like croutons and cheese.

124. Prefer plain broiled fish to batter-fried.

125. Choose vegetable toppings for pizza instead of extra cheese.

126.Ask that foods made in oil or butter be sauteed in wine instead.

127. If you are going to an ethnic catery, you should be at least moderately acquainted with the particular cuisine. If you are not, do ask what menu names or description mean. Some can be red signals for fat. On a French menu, for instance, anything prepared remoulade refers to a mayonnaise sauce.

128. In a Chinese restaurant, whole steamed fish with sauce on the side is good choice. Simple stir-fries are also fine.

129. Low-fat Thai fare includes lemon grass soups; stir-fried noodles and sprouts; lightly sauteed meats. Avoid the coconut based soups and curries, or deep-fried offerings like royal tofu and peanut sauce.

130. Pick you way carefully through a Mexican menu. Gazpacho, grilled meats or seafood, chicken fajitas, black beans soup, plain corn tortillas with a salsa dip, soft chicken tacos or beans in a soft tortilla are among the wiser options.

131. A French restaurant can always dish up fish grille without butter even if it is not on the menu. Stews like ratatouille or bouillabaisse are okay. So are dishes with sauces labelled coulis.

132. In an Italian restaurant, good appetizers are minestrone soup, Cioppino (seafood soup), or steamed mussels in a red sauce. Pasta with a vetegetable or tomato-or wine based sauce is fine, so is pastae fagioli, or spaghetti with marinara.

133. If the cuisine is Japanese, yakitori (meats grilled on a skewer) is a good choice as are sunomono (cucumber salad) and teriyaki.

134. When portion choices are available, order half portions: restaurant serving sizes generally weight down on the side of excess.

135. If you have a choice, choose fruit based creationssomething like a fruit sorbet or a fruit salad (minus the icecream) over a cake or torte or pie. The latter often have crusts laden with butter, or are frequently crowned with rich creams or custards.

136. If a fruit-based dessert typically comes with a fat-rich topping such cream, creme fraiche or a chocolate sauce, request the topping on th side and spoon it on with a light touch.

137. Face-to-face with a seductive or other rich dessert, take a onespoon or one-fork helping only.

138. If you really must have that creme brulee, go ahead and order it-but share it. Even the most elegant restaurant is used to seeing dessert being spooned into a relay of mouths.

139. When you do eat ice-cream, try regular varieties rather than the rich, super-premium types, which are invariable higher in fat.

140. Equally avoidable: what`s know in Indian ice-cream parlous as "American Thick Milk Shake". The name says it all.

141. Ask about special low-fatcalorie offerings:perhaps there is a gelatin and sugarless fruitbased dessert choice for diabetics-and that is good for weight-watchers too.

142. Other low-fat options: desserts that rely on egg whites, such as meringue or angel food cake. Sherbets, ice milk or flavoured ices also won`t do you in.

143. Fresh berries are and excellent choice of dessert if you pass up the cream.

144. Don’t get neurotic about menu alterations. You might get the waiter so harried that he will get the details wrong. Or you might offend the chef`s sensibility if you order a meal that is so bland that is is unappetizing. Give him the basic guidelines, then let him use them as a challenge to his creativity.

145. Having made all those demands-and having had them acceded to -don`t forget to tip generously.

146. Make it your own. Create or choose a weight-control plan that fits your food preferences. Low-fat yougurt and nimbupani are good low-fat choices, but if your palate detests both, there are other equally good low-fat options.

147. Satisfy hunger cravings. But do it with a low-fat option like vegetable sticks or a slice of fruit, not with masala corn chips.

148. Don’t Skip meals. You are likely to end up cheating yourself because you will negotiate with yourself. "I didn`t have breakfast, so I have X or Y". And X or Y, if it is mid morning cheese pizza or a couple of samosas, can add up to more calories (and more fat calories) than a healthy breakfast would have brought in.

149. Use a smaller platter: Your plate will look full so you won`t feel you are shortchanging yourself, yet you will actually be eating less. It is simple trick-but it works.

150. Don’t give up, give in.... a little: If you love cheese or chocolate, don`t vow never to let your lips touch one again. You will hate yourself for bein so "weak" about these weaknesses, and then you will hate yourself for succumbing to temptation as you almost inevitably will.

Even in her 50s, we all know actress Jennifer Aniston still flaunts a pair of seriously sculpted arms. But you don’t need to start lifting h...

Tone Up Your Arms And Wave Goodbye to the Wobble Tone Up Your Arms And Wave Goodbye to the Wobble

Even in her 50s, we all know actress Jennifer Aniston still flaunts a pair of seriously sculpted arms. But you don’t need to start lifting heavy weights to rival this A-lister. In fact, the actress favours push-ups as one of her key arm-toning moves.

They might have the reputation for being a big of a toughie, but you’ll certainly reap rewards from practising your push-ups. They can help hone your shoulders, biceps and triceps, while also tightening your core and even your for the warmer weather, when you can no longer hide behind cardigans and long-sleeved tops.

Celebrity trainer Chris Richardson has created a four-week programme that incorporates five arm-firming push-up and plank variations, which you can do from the comfort of your own home or even out in the garden. And you should notice the difference, fast.

“You’ll see an increase in muscle tone, a reduction in body fat and a surge in strength in two to four weeks,” Chris explains. It’s time to give flabby arms the cold shoulder...

Body benefits

Sculpted arms don’t just look sexy, they’re key for a healthy, happy body. You need them for carrying shopping, doing the odd bit of DIY work, or picking up the kids, as much as for showing them off in the sunshine. Plus, they will put you in good stead when you get older. Exercise boosts bone health, and strong arms will help you maintain your independence – think pushing yourself up from sitting to standing and climbing the stairs. Oh, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn.

An all-rounder

When it comes to toning your arms, it’s not just about the biceps. “If you want toned arms then you need to work your triceps, deltoids (your shoulders) and your brachialis (that’s the upper arm muscle that runs under the biceps down your forearms) just as hard,” explains Chris.


Get to know your pair with our anatomical guide

DELTOID This is a rounded, triangular muscle located on the uppermost part of the arm and the top of the shoulder.

BRACHIALIS This is an upper arm muscle that runs under the biceps down your forearm.

TRICEPS The triceps are large muscles on the back of your upper limbs, which run from the elbow to the shoulder.

BICEPS These run along the front of the arm from your elbow to your shoulder joint

Power up in the pool

According to Chris, you need to dive in to tone up. “Swimming is fantastic for firming up your arms, especially your shoulders and triceps, as you use these to propel yourself through the water,” he says. “As it’s a full-body movement you also burn a lot of calories (around 250 calories in just 30 minutes), helping you to tone muscle and eliminate fat.”

Arm watch

Try these classes to hone your arms...


A high-intensity, boxing-inspired class that focuses on speed, power, agility and reaction. It starts with a warm-up, followed by boxing footwork and pair work. It includes four rounds of hard-hitting combinations to work your arms, shoulders and core. For more information visit


Build strength, power and aerobic endurance by using the rower to burn fat and blast through a cardio workout. Lifting can focus on upper, lower or total-body exercises to add variety. All of the moves are scalable from barbells to kettlebells to make it accessible for everyone. For more information visit


Prepare for battle with high-intensity training. Whip the battle ropes, swing the SandBells and bust out a mighty warrior cry! This class will improve power and endurance, while sculpting those arms and strengthening your shoulders, back and core. For more information, visit

Four-week bingo-banishing programme

Love spring, but hate flashing the flesh as the weather warms up? Then this fit-and-firm routine is for you. The plan is made up of compound (or multi-movement) exercises, which use several muscles at the same time. “Lots of people will just do isolation exercises, such as a bicep curl, for their arms (this is where only one major muscle group is targeted),” explains Chris. However, they burn fewer calories and can cause a muscle imbalance. With compound movements, you’ll burn more energy, increase your metabolism and target a number of areas at once – meaning better results, faster.


Reps: 8-10. Sets: 2


Reps: 10-12. Sets: 2


Reps: 10-12. Sets: 3


Reps: 12-15. Sets: 3


Diamond push-up

(Beginner on knees, intermediate knees up from the floor)

Targets: Triceps, biceps, deltoids, pecs (chest).

Start in a plank position, with your body in a straight line. Place your hands together forming a diamond shape under your chest, with your thumbs touching. Lower yourself slowly, keeping your elbows in, then gradually rise back up to the starting position to complete one rep.


Targets: Triceps, deltoids, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, core.

Start standing. Jump down into a squat position, placing your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank position, with your arms extended (hands on the floor underneath your shoulders). Immediately return your feet into the squat position and jump back up to standing to complete one rep.


Targets: Deltoids, latissimus dorsi, core.

Start standing, with your feet hip-width apart. Hinge forward at your hips and place your palms on the floor in front of you. (You can bend your knees to help you get your palms flat on the floor). Walk your hands forwards so you’re in a full plank position – with your shoulders directly above your hands. Walk your hands back towards your feet and stand up to complete one rep.

Bodyweight tricep dips

Targets: Triceps, deltoids, latissimus dorsi (back, behind the arms)

Sit on the edge of a chair and grip the edge of the seat with your hands, either side of your bottom. With your feet out in front of you, flat on the floor, and knees bent, lower your body down towards the floor. Make sure that you keep your back close to the chair seat. Then slowly rise back up to complete one rep.

Plank up down

(Beginner on knees, intermediate knees up from the floor)

Targets: deltoids, triceps, biceps, lats (back), core.

Begin in a plank position, your feet hip-width apart and hands beneath your shoulders, your body forming a straight line from your feet to your head (if doing a full plank). Lower your right elbow to the floor, then your left, coming into a forearm plank. Place your right hand on the floor, straightening the right elbow. Follow with your left arm to complete one rep.

Hit the gym for more focused and varied workouts that will leave you feeling physically and mentally strong To really advance your strength ...

Master the Gym Master the Gym

Hit the gym for more focused and varied workouts that will leave you feeling physically and mentally strong

To really advance your strength training, going to a gym is a must. Partly because gym equipment is expensive, and once you start becoming stronger and fitter you’ll need more equipment at your disposal, as well as access a wider range of weights.

You’ll see in this feature we’re predominantly looking at conditioning equipment that provides more cardio‑focused workouts to complement your weight‑focused strength training. Not many of us will have the space or money to equip our homes with state‑of‑the‑art gym equipment, so finding a gym that you like is really the only option. If you are able to try a few gyms before making a commitment, then we’d recommend doing so. If you don’t like a gym, you probably won’t go. Plus, there are so  many different kinds of gym now, you are bound to find one that suits you.

Considering many of us have been working out at home during lockdown, going to a gym makes so much difference in comparison. Not just for your fitness levels, but also mental health and overall motivation. Having access to advice and encouragement as well as just chatting to other like‑minded gymgoers makes yourfitness journey so much more positive.


Your moves should always be: legs, arms, arms, legs.

An often‑overlooked piece of equipment, a rowing machine is actually more beneficial than you might think. Using a rowing machine will work around 86% of your muscles, giving you a full‑body workout. This means that it will help your endurance while strengthening and toning your muscles, making it a great piece of equipment to mix in with your strength‑focused routine. If you are using the rowing machine correctly, you’ll be predominantly working your pecs, upper back, arms, abdominal muscles and obliques, but also quadriceps, calves and glutes. Because the rowing machine is low‑impact, it is suitable for gymgoers of all levels, and is a really good alternative to running or using an elliptical machine. The rowing machine can give you a high‑intensity workout without putting stress on your joints in the same way that running might, and you can easily control your pace and the resistance can be adjusted to suit your ability.

1. Set the resistance to what you would like it to be. Then, make sure the feet pads are adjusted to suit you and you fasten the strap around the middle of your foot.

2. Now lean forward and pull the handle towards yourself. It is important to be aware that bad form can lead to injury or strain. Avoid rounding your shoulders. If you feel lower back pain then it is likely that you are not engaging your ab muscles.

3. Start with your arms extended in front of you, knees bent. With your back straight and core engaged, push back with your legs, then lean back keeping your abs engaged and pull the handle towards your body.

4. Make sure you extend your legs before you pull the handle towards your middle. And ensure you are using your upper back and not your arms. Now extend your arms back towards the base and bend your knees into the starting position.

We’d recommend that you keep things fresh and use a rowing machine in a variety of ways. Just rowing for 10, 15 or 20 minutes is great, but to stop you from getting bored consider incorporating it into your HIIT workouts, or just as part of your warm-up routine. 


✢ 100M ROW


✢ 200M ROW



Your heart rate should be up by now, and your body will be warm and ready for the main part of your strength workout.


Get your heart really pumping with this interval workout. Here we’ll focus on three rowing paces: Base – something you could probably do for 20 minutes without stopping, Push – something you could do for three minutes without stopping, and Sprint – something you could do for 30 seconds or one minute without stopping.
















Don’t underestimate how tough this bit of kit is, and don’t feel down if you can’t keep up pace for long. It will come with practice.

This piece of gym equipment is essentially a super‑charged exercise bike, and when used right will make even the most avid of fitness fanatics break into a heavy sweat very quickly. Unlike the traditional exercise bike, the assault bike adds in an upper body element to really help you step up your workout. The handlebars move forward and backwards independently to each other like they would on an elliptical machine as your feet pedal normally. You can also change the resistance to suit your needs. Like the rowing machine, the assault bike is a low‑impact exercise machine, so it is ideal if your ankles or knees aren’t up to running long distances, or as rehabilitation after an injury. The Assault AirBike is also great for metabolic conditioning and increasing your aerobic capacity without losing strength. 

1.Adjust the seat height and overall positioning so that you can comfortably reach both the pedals with a slight bend in your knee and the handlebars.

2. Now adjust the resistance to suit your ability. If it’s your first time on the bike then start low, as you can always increase it if it’s too easy.

3. Now it’s time to get to work! Start pedalling and moving the handlebars at the same time. Once you are comfortable, pick up the pace and hit it hard!

Similar to the rowing machine, there isn’t really a rule on when to tackle the assault bike. An intense session once a week between strength workouts will probably be enough. Try to increase the resistance as you build endurance  and increase the length of time you go on it, too – as with any exercise, don’t aim for too much too soon as you won’t achieve it and are more likely to give up. Set realistic goals and, most importantly, don’t underestimate how tough the assault bike can really be.

To start building aerobic capability, try 30 seconds on as fast as you can, then 30 seconds rest, 10 times. It might not seem like much, but believe us when we say that 30 seconds on will feel like 60 or more!


Don’t hold your arms in the top position for long as you’ll lose the resistance of the flywheel and lose rhythm

Another amazing piece of equipment to add to your strength training routine is the SkiErg, as it will work your full body. It will help you to build strength and endurance by working the body in a rhythmic motion. Like the rower and assault bike, the SkiErg is also another low‑impact exercise that you can adapt to your own abilities and has the potential to give you a high‑calorie‑burning workout. You can adjust the resistance on the machine, and also the harder you pull, the more resistance you’ll feel, too. It predominantly works your upper body – you’ll feel it on your lats, abs, arms, back and shoulders all at the same time. You will need to somewhat engage your lower half too, but it won’t give you that ‘leg day’ burn.

1. Stand in front of the machine with your legs shoulder‑width apart, and now grab hold of the handles so your arms are above your head with elbows slightly bent.

2. Pull the handles down in front of you, bend your knees and push your hips back as if you were cross‑country skiing.

3. Pull your arms right down until your hands are right by your thighs and arms parallel with your torso.

4. Now, reverse the movement so your arms are back to the starting position and you are on your tiptoes. Immediately pull back down on the cables and repeat.

Once again, there’s no hard and fast

rule as to when you should do this exercise, just try to mix it in somewhere to complement your strength training. You’re heart rate will go up after just a few seconds of using the SkiErg, so build up the length of time you use it for. Try setting yourself a target and time it, then work towards beating that time. Start with seeing how fast you can do 500m, once your time has started to improve, move the target to 1000m then 2000m. Or simply add short blasts of the SkiErg into your interval workouts.

Try the workout on the right…








Start with lower weights until you have mastered the moves.

This is a great piece of kit, but on first glance can look intimidating – especially when there’s a huddle of ‘gym bros’ watching one another use it. The cable machine provides resistance in order to work the muscle you choose depending on the movement you do. The great thing is that it can be totally adjusted to suit your abilities. The cables are attached to weights and the whole thing works as a sort of pulley system. There are usually a wide range of attachments that will complement different moves and you can pull in any direction you want. You can be creative with the moves you do on this machine, but great ones to start with include tricep pull‑downs, standing cable rows, bicep curls and standing chest presses.

1. To do a standing cable row, attach the rowing attachment to one of the cables (it will have two rigid handles).

2. Now set the weight you’d like to pull. Remember, as always, it’s safer to start lower than you think until you know you have mastered the move.

3. Take hold of the attachment while facing the machine and take a few steps back. Keep a slight bend in the knees.

4. Keep your arms right out in front of you and step back until the weight unracks and then pull the weight using your arms towards the centre of your chest. Your shoulder blades should be retracted during the motion.

You can do a whole range of different moves with the cable machine, so you are probably best to choose four or five different moves and then do three sets of 10 per exercise.





















Gyms can seem like scary places, but we promise they are not! Here’s our tips to get you through the door…

If you’re feeling really anxious about going to the gym, it’s often mainly the fear of the unknown. Before you sign up for a membership, ask if you can be shown around the gym. We can’t think of a gym that wouldn’t do that for a prospective new member ‑ and if even that initial meeting still fills you with dread, ask a mate to go with you, even if they aren’t going to sign up. Most gyms do also enforce an induction for your first session, so make sure to book one and actually go. While you are on the induction, ask as many questions as you need. Ask what all the machines do and if you can try them in front of the trainer.

So, now you’ve had a tour of your new gym and been formally inducted you should be feeling pretty good about smashing your first workout, right? If you’re not, don’t worry as this is totally normal. We’ve all felt the dread of doing something new and it’s often worse if it’s a solo pursuit. Before you go, make a plan of what you will do once you are there. Is it leg day? Or are you going to focus on upper body or just do a bit of cardio? Making a plan will help to give you direction and purpose for when you get there and make you less likely to panic your way off-course. Don’t forget, also, many gyms will happily help you to create a plan within the services that they offer, so if you do want extra guidance (or even a personal trainer), ask at your induction.

Finally, remember that it is likely that everyone in the gym has something that they are self‑conscious about. Plus everyone has been the gym newbie at some stage. Most importantly, we’re sorry to say, nobody is watching you. Everyone is there for a reason and that reason is not to watch you. You do all share one thing, however, you are all there for some form of self‑improvement and that is such a beautiful thing. A room full of people just trying to be a little bit better. Embrace that and enjoy the experience


Fill your gym bag with a few essentials Make sure you don’t get on the wrong side of trainers and other gymgoers with these dos and don’ts


1. Ask for help if you need it. There’s nothing more frustrating for trainers at the gym than watching people using equipment incorrectly. You might hurt yourself and you probably won’t actually be getting the benefits you think.

2. Clean equipment after you use it. Even before a Covid world, it was best practice to wipe down equipment after you use it. There’s nothing worse than sitting down on a sweaty seat

3. Put equipment away. You might be doing a series of moves and require multiple pieces of equipment, but if you aren’t using something, wipe it and put it back.

4. Stay off your phone. Try to limit your distractions wherever it is possible. You won’t be totally focused on your workout if you are busy checking messages and notifications.


1. Drop weights. Dropping weights can damage equipment and if they are free-weights, you’ll have no control of where they’ll fall when you do send them clattering to the floor. Broken toes and bruised shins are not desirable.

2. Hog a machine. If you’re visiting a gym at peak hours, limit yourself to 15 minutes on a machine as there might be people waiting to use it. You can always go back to it later.

3. Stare at people. Even if you aren’t selfconscious, other people in the gym might be. By all means chat to people if they want to engage but don’t gawp at people as you might put them off.

4. Walk behind someone wielding a heavy weight. You should give most people a wide berth, but if you breeze past someone squatting with a heavy barbell, they could hurt you or themselves.


Fill your gym bag with a few essentials

Water bottle

Most gyms have water dispensers, but you’ll need to take your own bottle to fill up. It is so important to have a drink before a workout, and also to stay hydrated throughout. You’ll have much more energy and your muscles will probably recover better.


We’d like to hope you’ll be getting nice and sweaty while you are at the gym, so a towel is a good idea to wipe your dripping face. They are also handy to wipe your hands on if they are sweaty when you are trying to lift weights to help with grip.

Smart watch

Track the calories that you are burning and also keep your eye on your heart rate when you work out. You only have one heart, so take care of it, and remember to ask your doctor for advice before upping your workouts and cardio – especially if you have a history of heart conditions.


Sometimes the music in the gym is banging and you won’t want to listen to your own music, but for times when you need full focus on your workouts, having your own headphones to hand is a great idea. Or for when you don’t need to hear Karen and Janice’s work drama over on the static bikes.

Notebook and pen

This might feel like a strange one, but if you are taking your weight training seriously, then having the ability to record the weight and reps you are lifting is important. You can also just use it to write down your workout plan for the day to keep you on track.