Thursday, October 13, 2011

The great summer shape up

The hotter the weather gets the more likely we are to start peeling off the layers, and there are more than a few of us out there who are living in fear of what we’ll find beneath! It’s that time of year when new exercise goals start being set, and there is a multitude of ways to get yourself on the right track.
I personally am a long-time advocate of a varied fitness routine, and found that when I stepped up my Pilates classes at Re:ab in Selbourne Street and added some cardio and circuit classes into the mix I started to see some real results. A lot of people ask me: ‘but will Pilates help me lose weight?’ and speaking from personal experience and observation over the course of a few years, I can say with some certainty that anyone who commits to Pilates workouts will create a trimmer appearance, and most will lose significant weight. It creates lean muscle mass, so is of the best ways to increase your calorie-burning potential, but how much one applies oneself to their Pilates session determines how much weight they will or will not lose! The media has touted Pilates as a wonderful weight loss regime, but if people do not apply themselves to their workouts when exercising (be it Pilates or any other workout regime), results just won’t happen!
I sat down one afternoon to get the low down on shaping up for summer from an expert: Personal Trainer Monique Jackson, who I met at Re:ab and has worked in the industry both here and in the UK. Monique is a walking billboard for fitness and good health, and has the kind of effervescent energy and toned bod that we’d all love to achieve.
She begins by saying that “it’s good to have a goal – be it a holiday, a wedding or anything you’re looking forward to – and to be committed to it.” Depending on your fitness level you could start with three sessions of exercise a week she says, “then build it up week by week when you’re body starts getting used to it. And variety is essential to stop yourself getting bored and to challenge your body.” She says that my combination of Pilates, strength training cardio is a good one, “and because a lot of women worry about bulking up, increased reps of lighter weights and strength work like Pilates and yoga that stretches your muscles is a great thing to do.”
She says that “core focus” is essential, and working that area in some way every day to make sure that it stays strong. “And cardio of all kinds is really beneficial,” adds Monique, “be it walking the dog or going for a run. And as the weather gets warmer it’s ideal to get outside to exercise, or even join a boot camp for some seriously fast results and a whole new challenge again.”
She says that hiring a trainer is a great way to get motivated if you’re just starting a fitness regime or want to ramp yours up, “and seeing them twice or three times a week really helps you commit. They’ll also look at your diet and make you keep a food diary, so you feel responsible for what you’re doing when you’re not with them too.” After you’ve reached your goal “seeing them maybe once a fortnight is a good idea to keep you interested and energised with new workouts.” She’s also a strong advocate of Power Plate workouts, “which give you amazing results when you do them correctly.”

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