The TV workout game you’ve been waiting for is here. You’re welcome.

  • Game of Thrones is on, but you haven’t worked out in weeks. Fear not, there is no need to choose between the two.
  • Recycle an old drinking game and bam – get fit with your TV!

Missing your favourite show is one of those things you just don’t want to be dealing with, and too often you have to choose between working out and catching another episode of House of Cards. You could watch it on catch-up TV or Netflix, sure, but who really has time for that? But you haven’t worked out in weeks, and you’re starting to see evidence of all that Chinese food and other delicious things you’ve been binging on. So you’re stuck in a dilemma: Get moving or get watching?

Don’t worry. This is for you.

Using my extensive knowledge of the life of a couch potato as well as my new-found fitness interest, I have invented a game that combines what you want to do with what you should do. It’s simple, easy to prepare, and can be adapted to any show of your choice. 

Here’s how to play:

1. Pick a show you know quite well.
Let’s say Orange is the New Black (if you’re not obsessed with this show already, you should be).

2. Write down a number of things that regularly happen in the show.
5 is usually best to start off with. This is why it might be good to pick a series you’re already familiar with, or you could just ask someone who’s seen it to write a short list for you. For example, my Orange is the New Black list looks like this:

– Healey makes a remark about ‘dangerous’ lesbians or lesbian activity.

Healey from Orange is the New Black speaks about lesbians.

– Pennsatucky’s horrific teeth make an appearance.

Pennsatucky from Orange is the New Black sings.

– Taystee does a celebratory dance.

Taystee from Orange is the New Black dances.

– The Latinas bring the sass to the max.

Maritza from Orange is the New Black.

– Piper regrets her life choices and/or feels sorry for herself.

Piper from Orange is the New Black feeling sorry for herself.

3. Construct some sort of short workout set.
For example:

– 5 star-jumps.

– 5 push-ups.

– 10 squats.

Keep it short! Otherwise you will probably be dead by the end of the game, trust me.

4. Do the above routine every time one of the things on your list happens on the show.
EVERY TIME. Don’t be lazy just because you’re watching TV. It will be easy at first, but after a while you will feel the burn. 

5. Get fit and ready for the bikini season!
Simples.

 

Let me know how you get on, and which show you chose!

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How to have the perfect nap: The best way to get the most out of your daytime slumber

  • Napping is more of a science than you think.
  • Find out when, where and how to have the most invigorating nap.

Napping is brilliant. Whether you’re ill, upset, stressed, or just in the mood for a quick rest, it is incredibly satisfying and sometimes entirely essential. And for those of you thinking naps are only for babies and frail old people, both Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were well known afternoon-snoozers, so there!

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Now, you might think that taking a time-out from your day  for a nap, rather than another round of  cardio, is completely unacceptable if you’re trying to get fit.  If so, don’t worry. Short periods of daytime sleep is actually  brilliant for your health. They can drastically improve your  mood and make you more alert, which also helps your  performance during your workouts. So, great news all  around!

But how can you improve your technique, to get the most out of the napping experience? Here is how to have the best nap ever:

1. Keep it short.

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Even though it’s always super hard to actually wake up from a period of sleep, short snoozes are actually much better than those that last for hours. 20 to 30 minutes is usually the recommended time, since you’re then less likely to wake up feeling heavy, and it won’t interfere with your nighttime sleep. So fight the urge to sleep on, it pays off.

2. Evening naps are a no-no.

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So as not to interfere with your sleeping patterns, try to time your nap so that it doesn’t occur too late. Early afternoon is generally the optimal time to have a little rest, since your body might not be entirely ready for another slumber if it’s still early in the day. (Although, spontaneous naps are amazing too, obviously).

3. Do it in the dark.

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Completely immersing yourself in darkness is a sure way of falling asleep quicker, so your body can enjoy a longer period of actual sleep. Make sure lights are turned off and daylight is minimal, but remember to set an alarm so you do wake up at some point!

4. Caffeine + nap = instant energy boost. 

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Individually, both a cup of coffee and a nap are perfect as means of picking you up when you need it, so together they basically have the same effect as a rocket up your backside. The best way to go about it is drinking a lovely cappuccino (or other caffeinated drink of your choice) before your nap, and when you wake up after 20 minutes, the caffeine will kick in and you will feel ready to take on the world!

Now, go forth and nap. Enjoy!

 

 

Gifs from http://giphy.com/.

Advice from an Adonis: Why you should get a personal trainer.

  • Another muscular piece of hunk shares his best fitness advice.
  • He explains why personal trainers are the best way to get fit.

Isn’t it much easier to take advice when the person giving it to you looks like this?

Floyd Robinson.

Floyd Robinson.

Because he’s dressed like a police officer, obviously… Ahem.

Well, we’re in luck, because that is exactly what’s about to happen. Floyd Robinson (the man in the thong) is in fact not really an officer of the law, but rather a fitness model, Adonis Cabaret stripper and Personal Trainer for Body Beautiful Personal Training. And he is happy to help.

He says: “Whether you choose to go to the gym or take part in a team sport, ensure your exercise programme is fun. If you’re bored of spending countless hours on cardio equipment with little results, then seek the help of a personal trainer. A good PT will be able to provide you with an effective and inspiring program in just one or two sessions.”

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So, there you go. Now put away your half-melted old Mars bar, squeeze into some shorts and stop the excuses!

Body Beautiful Personal Training are available on Facebook and provide fitness training, nutrition advice and life coaching. And this guy, of course. Happy training!

No more excuses! Here are 5 workouts you can do at the office – without leaving your desk.

  • Work out your abs, calves, thighs, biceps and triceps while still sitting in your chair.
  • Time to stop those excuses – and make your time at work even more productive.

Work. Whether it’s studying, answering calls or handling an ever-growing stack of paperwork, it takes up your time like nothing else, and you leave it feeling worn out and fed up most days. How many times this week have you realised you office-work_1347442848_460x460don’t have the time to even think about working out, because you’re stuck in front of a computer screen? Trust me, I know the feeling. But there is a solution: Isometric training.

Isometric training basically means working out while sitting still, through tensing and releasing certain muscle groups. It’s incredibly effective, simple, discreet, and can be done pretty much anywhere without rendering you a breathless and sweaty mess. Perfect if you’re bored out of your mind dealing with customers who make you want to slap yourself in the face!

Here’s how to do it:

1. ABS
To work out your abdominal muscles, tense the whole region (as if you’re about to get punched) for about 15 seconds, then release and breathe for another 15. Repeat this 10 times. This will really start to burn after a while as it increases the blood flow to the area, which really speeds up the rate at which the surrounding fat is metabolised. In other words: Great news for your budding six pack!

2. CALVES

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For this one, place your feet firmly on the floor with your ankle directly below your knee. Now, take a nice strong grip with your hands onto the chair (you will need this!), and push hard on the balls of your feet while raising your heels off the floor, as if you’re on your tip-toes. This flexes your ankle and you should start to feel the major calve muscle moving its way up your lower leg. Hold the heel off the floor as high as it can go for 15 seconds, then release and repeat 10 times.

3. THIGHS

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This is a brilliant move for burning some fat off your thighs. Keeping your legs together, fully straighten them under your desk and raise them as high off the ground as possible, remaining seated. Then, with your legs fully extended and raised, tense the tops of your thighs and slowly lower the legs, counting down from 15, until you’re in a resting position. This one will feel easy at first, but will burn after just a few times.

4. BICEPS

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Toning of the arms can be done easily by gripping the underneath of your desk, so that your elbow joint is flexed at about 90 degrees (as in the picture), as hard as possible. This forces blood into the bicep muscle, giving you a brilliant burn. Hold this one for 20 seconds at a time, and repeat 10 times.

5. TRICEPS

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For the triceps, sit up straight and grab the sides of your office chair, straightening your arms as much as possible. Try to push your shoulder blades together, while at the same time tensing your arms and pushing down on the chair as if you’re trying to lift yourself off the chair. Keep the arms extended, squeezing the muscle as much as possible, for about 20 seconds and, again, repeat 10 times.

Let me know how you get on!

5 things it’s okay to miss when you’re trying to be healthy

  • Being healthy is not easy, and your cravings won’t go away in the first week..
  • Here are some of the things I can’t seem to let go of. Do you agree?

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” said Kate Moss and carried on being a supermodel, seemingly without the cravings of a mere mortal.

I’ve considered this quite a lot. Should these words be held up as a beacon of modern wisdom and regarded as a valued piece of advice promoting beauty and well-being, rather than a damaging statement representing a skewed sense of health and a misguided idea of body perfection?

The debate could go on, but really Kate, nothing?! Personally, I could think of a vast number of delicious things that are dangerously close to tasting better than the feeling of getting into your jeans. And I can certainly think of just as many things I’d rather be doing than sweating on the floor doing sit-ups.

These are the things I miss the most now that I’ve (almost) completely given up binge-eating and constant vegetating in favour of a healthier, ab-friendly, diet and lifestyle.

If you feel the same, don’t worry. It’s okay.

1. Cheese.

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Oh my god, cheese. The bane of my life. Gone are the days when I could buy a full bag of grated parmesan and pour it into my mouth for a snack (yes, that happened several times), and completely cover my cheesy nachos with creamy mozzarella, with a clear conscience. Brie and cheesy crackers, gone. Quesadillas dripping with cheesy goodness, no more. Feels like losing a limb.

2. Just lazying about.

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Is there anything better than waking up on a Sunday, knowing that you don’t have to do anything that day? Green light to spend hours and hours on the sofa covered in blankets, only venturing to the kitchen to collect fatty, greasy food and returning to the sofa to stuff your face with said food for a few more hours. Well, this is just one of the things regular workouts have completely ruined for me. I spend an hour on the sofa now and feel bad. Damn it.

3. Chocolate.

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Obviously. Chocolate is delightful.

4. Quick, cheap food

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Oh, how easy it is to drive by the old McDonald and pick up a cheeseburger for £0.99 and ignore the fact that these things never go off. So much easier than spending five times as much money and about half an hour chopping up vegetables for a salad that you only spend about 10 minutes eating. Berries are a particular rip-off! One plus is that you do feel infinitely better after the latter, though.

5. Getting absolutely hammered.

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Everyone knows drinking loads is a bad idea when it comes to health and safety. But we do it anyway, because it’s hilarious. Well, if you’re trying to get abs, forget it. Alcohol has an incredibly high amount of calories per gram, even higher than that of fat and carbohydrates, which makes it a complete no-go for people trying to get fit. Sorry, looks like we’re all going to have to cry into cups of tea or soda water instead. Your friends will have gotten themselves a designated driver though so that’s something, I guess!

What else do you keep craving? Let me know in the comments!


  • Gifs from http://giphy.com/.

Here is the truth about Fitness DVDs – Are they as good as they seem, or just a sneaky way for celebrities to make money?

  • Are you considering using workout DVDs, but find yourself having doubts and questions?
  • These are the benefits: What they can actually do for you
  • … And the issues: Fitness professionals advise against the DVDs
  • I put two popular DVDs to the test

Quite often when I tell people about my deep-rooted hatred for the gym and my desire to avoid it at all costs, I get a very similar response: “Why don’t you try Fitness DVDs?”, followed by a number of recommendations. I always see them advertised; celebrities seem to love getting a little bit obese and then filming an exercise DVD to make some extra cash if work is running low. Here’s Kim Kardashian, for example, talking about hers:

According to experts in business intelligence and market research IBIS World, the fitness DVD industry made around $297m in the US alone last year, and there is now apparently everything from videos showing you how to do yoga and Pilates to DVDs about dance (including Zumba) and of course good old-fashioned cardio and strength training on the market. After a quick search of www.amazon.co.uk, I even discovered a ‘Fitness For the Over 50’s’ DVD as well as one entitled ‘6 Kids Fitness Workouts’, so apparently there is something for almost everyone. Any remotely public person seems to be able to make one, from Kerry Katona to a woman called Rosemary Conley. No previous fitness knowledge required!

Now, I do realise that some of these DVDs are actually made with the audience’s best interest in mind and have not just been made to make money. I also realise that many people like them and use them regularly in their daily lives to keep fit. But why?

Molly Hansson, 22, as an avid fitness fanatic with the help of Davina McCall’s range of DVDs, sheds some light on this question: “I love workout DVDs because I hate going to the gym, so they allow me to work out at home without anyone watching.” She adds: “As a woman, I enjoy a good cardio session which a lot of these DVDs are able to provide. I can therefore exercise more than one muscle group without having to leave my home.”

That all sounds grand, doesn’t it? Somehow, I still find myself having certain doubts. There is something about the idea of watching perfectly polished and choreographed celebrities doing flawless workout routines, filmed in several takes, and shouting “you’re doing great!” that makes me feel like I am inadequate, like I should admire them and feel ashamed of myself.

Robbie Burns, a Level 2 Fitness Instructor from Southampton, shares my concerns. He argues that fitness DVDs are a “consumer gimmick” that are certainly not necessary for people to stay fit, and in fact won’t help if someone is not already motivated to work out. He also points out another problem with the DVDs: “They can be very general and the novelty will soon wear off. The exercises over time may cease to be physically demanding as the user gets fitter.”

I am torn, but I do realise I will have to attempt this type of workout myself before I make a final judgment. I decide to try two well-sold DVDs, one by Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby, and one by “veteran fitness queen” (as labelled by Daily Mail) Davina McCall, both picked up for a few pounds from my local Tesco. The two are very different in their marketing: Crosby’s DVD, for example, is entitled ‘3 Minute Belly Blitz’ and displays two large pictures of the TV personality, supposedly taken before and after she started using the workouts in the DVD, implying that this particular DVD is aimed at those who wish to lose weight quickly. McCall’s, on the other hand, simply named ‘Intense’, advertises exercises which sculpt and tone an already somewhat fit body. I am not sure what to expect…

I start with the ‘3 Minute Belly Blitz’. Instantly when pressing play, I cringe. Charlotte, in a full face of make-up and with hair collected flawlessly in a French braid, is flanked by two huge and rather intimidating men, whom I prcharlotteesume are her personal trainers.
They go through a heavily scripted dialogue together about the aim of the first session, and then start to demonstrate the first workout. Each workout set is only done for a 3 minute interval (hence the name of the DVD) which is actually quite appealing to chronically lazy people like me as it feels like you’re not pushing yourself too hard, which I suppose is the aim. The exercises are relatively straight-forward and one of the men even demonstrates ‘beginner’ versions of each of the moves, for people who want an easier option. There are a range of exercises for arms, abs and cardio all accompanied by constant encouragement from the leading lady, although nothing overly interesting or motivating. I do appreciate the fact that none of the exercises require much equipment – all that is used is a simple yoga mat.

Concluding that I am somewhat pleasantly surprised with Charlotte despite the cheesy script, unexciting moves and overly enthusiastic exclamations cheering me on, I move on to Davina. I have high hopes for this particular DVD since it has been repeatedly recommended to me. I start with the episode entitled ‘Cardio’, which includes High Intensity Interval Training designed to rapidly increase heart rate, and immediately I see clear differences that set this apart from Charlotte’s DVD: Davina, along with her assistant trainers Jackie and Mark, is casual and relaxed, and the three laugh together like close friends throughout the episode.

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The emphasis here is on being comfortable with what you’re doing, but working hard nevertheless, as Davina encourages me to “do the exercises as hard as you can”. This instantly feels more accessible and relatable than Charlotte’s DVD and I find myself laughing at Davina’s facial expressions as we go through the workouts. She is natural and funny and absolutely bonkers, and I feel encouraged to try harder thanks to her positive attitude. Jackie, who leads the less advanced exercises, explains techniques thoroughly throughout, making sure the moves are being done correctly and safely, which is much appreciated. There are also many reminders to breathe and cool down after each interval, and it is explained that this is an important part of the training. There is a distinctly more professional but also friendlier feel to this DVD, which I would be happy to re-experience.

So, I admit that I may have been won over despite my initial doubts. But, since I don’t exactly adore a visit to the gym, and I worry that perhaps the DVDs will lose their charm, I am interested to see what my other options are. I once again ask Robbie Burns, who says he would not recommend the DVDs to his clients at ‘The Gym’ in Southampton, and who is keen to make other recommendations: “Join a sports club or go to a local park! There is often gym equipment there that can be used for free.”

Great. What else? Hamish Burke, coordinator of University of Hertfordshire’s Active Students Bootcamp initiative, strongly recommends classes instead of DVDs. He says: “Personally, I believe classes are much better for people looking to get fit. They make it easier to stay motivated with a set time each week to put aside for exercise. Fitness DVDs demand a more organised personality as well as self-motivation which can be difficult as the weeks go on and the novelty wears off.” Burke also notes that classes can sometimes work out to be cheaper than a gym membership and certainly less pricey than regular personal training.

So, will I use fitness DVDs again? Yes, definitely. My experience was certainly not as bad as I was expecting and I actually quite enjoyed my workout with Davina. But I also feel that there is more to be tried…

What do you think? Have you tried DVDs? If not, what do you do instead? Let me know in the comments!

The gymless quest: A guide to improving your fitness without having to go to the gym.

Fellow couch potatoes, I have a fitness solution for you.

Everyone knows that going to the gym is basically a nightmare. You know what I mean – you finally get off the sofa, make yourself look somewhat presentable and get yourself down to the nearest (and cheapest, of course) fitness center, just to be met by the stench of 50 people’s sweat-soaked bodies and probably also 50 pairs of eyes staring at you judgmentally as you struggle to endure even two minutes on the bloody treadmill while desperately gasping for water. No, thank you. I would rather stay in the privacy of my own bedroom where no one can hear me huffing and puffing and screaming with frustration as I squat vigorously.

So for all you unfit, unmotivated ladies and gentlemen out there just like me: Have no fear! There’s another way…

I have created this blog in a (somewhat) serious effort to actually get us all off our backsides and get moving. And don’t worry, all my work-outs will be taking place either at home or outside (who can afford a gym membership anyway?!)

Let’s do it!

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