Since Christmas I have been training regularly, trying to keep fit in as many ways as possible. After working harder than I probably have done in a long time, I’ve been reaping the rewards and seeing great progress, and even through a hectic year I’ve maintained regular classes. Last week however, came the time I’ve been counting down to since January…. HOLIDAYS!!
Normally this wouldn’t be too much of a problem, a week out is no big deal and a few days off can often do your body the world of good. The difference this year though is that I’ve flown off to my boyfriend’s Greek island for 3 weeks, and there’s not a pole or a gym in sight! After working so hard to get fit, I don’t want to let it all go now (though the copious amounts of home cooked Greek food isn’t helping!).
You all know I hate the gym, but when I do make it there one of my preferred workouts is a body-weight circuit (without a single machine in sight!). I use a handy iPhone app called ‘Interval Timer’ which you can set as an alarm to go off at regular intervals, with your music playing in the background. I’ll do 30 repetitions of 1-minute exercise, 10-seconds rest and alternate between upper body, core and lower body. I’m doing this a couple of times a week whilst I’m away to keep my fitness ticking over!
To ease you in gently, I’ll cover my top 10 favourite exercises. These can be performed ANYWHERE and if you still have plenty of energy left, repeat the whole thing twice!
Simple but effective…..make sure you’re not dipping or arching your back (however much it hurts!). Lifting up off your toes, rest on your elbows, or hands if you can manage, keeping your core engaged and your body in a straight line. Try and do this in a mirror if possible, or have someone check you are in line.
2. Jump Lunges
Step forward into a lunge position, jump straight up and switch legs in the air in a scissor motion– landing in a lunge with the opposite leg forward. Make sure to keep your knees soft when you land, and don’t rush it if you are losing form.
Warning – you probably won’t be able to walk up stairs comfortably the next day!
3. Press Ups
Another classic that will work your upper body, but also wake up your core. These can be done as full press-ups, or off your knees if these are too hard. As with the plank, make sure to keep your body straight without dipping or arching through your middle. It is better to do easier repetitions with good form!
Lay on your front, raising your arms in front of you, and legs at the same time. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and then repeat. With loads of abs work your lower back will often get neglected and this is a great way to stay balanced.
5. Side leg raises
Laying on your side, make a pillow for your head with your lower arm. With both legs stacked, raise the upper leg, hold it for a second and then lower back down with control. Keep your upper body relaxed and make sure to keep your body in a straight line without curling forwards.
These are great for your oblique’s (side abs). Sitting up with your knees bent, your feet about half a metre from your bum, and lean back. Keep your core engaged so your back doesn’t bend. Put your arms out in front of you and twist from left to right.
Progressions include hovering you feet off the ground; if you have a weight to hand you can hold this to make it harder.
7. Arm circles
Great for the shoulders! Whilst standing, extend your arms straight out to the side and make small circles forward. After 30 seconds, switch to circle them backwards. Keep your upper body tall with your shoulders pulled down, and don’t curve into your lower back.
This is my favourite move for the core. Sit up with your knees bent and your feet away from your bum. Lean back slightly and extend your arms forward. Keeping your legs together, bend them at a 90 degree angle and lift your feet from the floor. If this is too easy, straighten your legs so that your upper and lower body creates a ‘V’ shape. Hold your core tight and don’t let your back bend!
One of the simplest but most effective moves to tone your backside! Stand with your feet hip widths distance apart, and squat down. I like to extend my hands out in front of me to keep balance. Don’t lower more than 90 degrees, and make sure your knees don’t extend over your toes. Keep your back straight and hold in the lowered position for a challenge!
Standing tall, start by dropping your head down, and then slowly rolling down the rest of your spine to touch your toes (feel free to bend your knees slightly if you can’t quite reach the floor). Placing your hands on the floor, walk them forwards until you end up in a press up position, keeping your core engaged and your body straight. Perform one press up, and then come back to standing by walking your feet to your hands this time. Roll back up, one vertebrate at a time making sure your head is the last thing to come up!