Forget New Year resolutions to get fit and healthy.
January is not the time to start working on a better version of you. You’re still on holidays, the sun is shining, the water is warm and the beer is cold.
February is a much better bet.
Chances are, life has returned to its pre-holiday rhythm. The kids have returned to school, you’re back in the office and the daily routine has been re-established.
Fitness professional Luke Heath says all it takes is five minutes a day to make a difference to your health.
He’s created a fitness app of five-minute workouts based on high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is proven to fast-track results.
“Five minutes can really make a difference,” he says.
“HIIT is nothing new, it’s a combination of high intensity cardio and functional strength movements that get the heart rate up to 80 per cent of its maximum so that you keep on burning body fat, up to 90 minutes after your workout.”
But there’s a catch.
“You have to work,” Heath says.
“It’s a full-on workout and to see results you need consistency. It needs to be every day.”
There are over 100 workouts on the app, from beginners to advanced exercises, that can be done at the gym or at home with minimal equipment.
“Effective workouts don’t have to be expensive, you can use your bodyweight as resistance or basic weights, kettlebells or skipping ropes,” Heath says.
“The app walks you step-by-step through the exerscises with optiosn for reps, hints, tips and motivation.”
The app features 10 free workouts and you can access another 90 for less that $1 a week, but Heath is offering free access to the entire program until mid-February.
“Start with one workout and gradually add a few more,” he says.
“The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a one to 10minute break after HIIT sessions, but if you are after super athletic results, keep it continuous with two or three workouts without a break.”
Working out is half the battle, the other is what you eat.
If the thought of a hardcore detox sends you reaching for the nearest chocolate bar, a more gentle way to ease back into eating well is adding green juices to your diet.
Pressed Juices nutritionist Jess Rutledge says a 475ml bottle of green juice contains one kilo of vegetable, half the recommended daily serve.
“It’s like eating a giant salad bowl and getting all of that goodness in one bottle. The great thing about juices is that you’re able to get all the ingredients and nutrients in a small space,” she says.
“Juicing removed the insoluble fibre so the body doesn’t have to work to do it, it can just absorb the nutrients. It’s a less taxing way to get lots of goodness in there.”
For those happy to forgo chewing for a few days, Rutledge recommends a seasonal cleanse.
“It floods the system with a high dose of nutrients, four vegetable juices, a citrus juice and smoothie option every day. It’s a great way to reset the body and gives the digestive system a break,” Rutledge says.
“Digesting food is one of the more taxing processes the body goes through and this lightens the load. A cleanse can help reset healthy eating habits and creates mindfulness around food because it highlights how and when people eat and how emotions are linked to food.”
This story was first published in Shop Smart, The Sunday Telegraph on February 1, 2015