There’s no denying that weight loss has its challenges. Chief among them is our bad eating habits and the difficulty of establishing a beneficial, keep-update routine of healthy exercise. But recognizing these challenges for what they are is half the battle: Sun Tzu wrote in his great military treatise, The Art of War, know thy enemy.
So once we have indeed established that you have bad eating habits that require attention, you can set about reducing your portions and number of snacks, bringing down your intake of sugar and salt, and upping your consumption of water. Then there’s the exercise.
The problem with exercise is often the lack of fun. It’s not the activity itself, but the idea of it – picking yourself up after a day’s work to dutifully head to the gym can seem like such a laborious task, it’s no wonder that most of us struggle to keep it up after a few months or the first break in that new routine. What’s needed then is simple, something that’s not too much of a drag, something you can do at home throughout the day.
Here are 3 fantastic exercises you can do in the morning when you get up, during a lazy afternoon at home, in the evening before settling down for dinner, or even in the park if you’re one of those types that don’t mind a little physical activity in the public sphere once in a while.
First, the squat. We love the squat because not only does it tick all of the above boxes in terms of sheer easiness, but also because it’s such a great all-around workout for your entire midriff. You’ll get the benefit of this in your waist, your behind, and your thighs. It’s also the kind of exercise that you can do in much less than 5 minutes and really feel that you’ve put yourself through your paces.
To get the most out of your squats, have your feet at shoulder’s width apart, keep your back straight throughout, carefully sink into the sitting position, rinse and repeat. Start with 10-15 reps and 3 sets, then gradually bring yourself up to 30-45 at a time, minimum 3 times a day, with one day’s break every 3 or 4 days.
Press-ups come next. Press-ups, or push-ups, are a fantastic exercise because you work so many muscle groups to perform them. You’ll notice your shoulders, triceps, and forearms become more defined, as well as your chest muscles. Do them right with a flat belly, and you’ll also improve your core strength and abdominals. Vary your press-ups by place your feet up on a seat. You can also change your hand position and width to exercise different parts of your chest and upper arms. Do 3 sets of reps until failure, 3 times a day, with 1 or 2 days’ break every 4 or 5 days.
Finally, the plank. This is a fantastic exercise because, like the push-up, you’re working for so many upper-body muscle groups. Primarily, though, you put your core to the task – and do so without putting any strain on your back, which is often the problem with core or abdominal-focused exercises. Please don’t overdo it and start with 30 seconds, remaining very concentrated at all times on your body shape. If you deviate from the correct position, you’ll lose much of the benefit – which is why it’s best to underdo it while you build up your strength. Again, sets of 3, 3 times a day with a break every 3 or 4 days – you’ll soon see those pounds come shedding off!