According to Public Health England, Britons are the western world’s most inactive people. We log, on average, less time exercising than we do waiting for pizza to arrive.
Two-thirds of Brits miss the government’s two-and-a-half-hour weekly activity target. Which is why, by 2050, it’s projected that more than half the population will be clinically obese. Healthy people will be in the minority, with their free-flowing blood and lack of diabetes-induced blindness.
But exercise can be intimidating. Often, those #fitspo posts are anything but – they just reiterate how far away you are from your beach body. Which makes it even harder to start. Like anything, the first step is the hardest. Especially if it’s a dumbbell lunge.
Which is why the best approach is to start slow and build up. If you’re carrying some extra timber, don’t fork out for a gym membership you’ll use once then be never want to revisit. Instead, tackle this at-home circuit, which will build the basic fitness you need to move on to tougher moves.
The Beginner’s Home Workout
Start with one set of each exercise, performing the prescribed reps. Take 60 seconds rest after all your reps, then move onto the next exercise.
If you can, perform a second set of each, returning to the press-ups once you’ve finished the plank. If not, build up to more as you get stronger.
Press-Up x 10 Reps
You might not have the core strength to knock out military press-ups right out the blocks. Not a problem. The move’s mechanics mean the further you are from horizontal, the easier they become. So just change the plane.
Start by performing them with your hands on a table or chair back (or even a wall, if you’re really struggling) and focus on pace: three seconds to go down, one second to push back up. As you get stronger, get nearer the ground.
Chair Squat x 8 Reps
The squat hits almost every muscle in your body, especially those big, calorie-torchers in your legs. Which makes them key for seeing off your spare tyre. But tight hips and hamstrings mean your form will suffer if you go in unassisted.
Instead, place a chair behind you then drive your hips back to sit down. Keeping your weight on your heels, drive back up to standing. Again, the deeper you go, the harder it gets – graduate to benches, stools and eventually no support at all.
Rows x 10 Reps
After your legs, your back has the most of that fat-torching muscle. Just because you can’t see it in the mirror doesn’t mean you should ignore it. A strong back will also help fix postural problems, pulling your shoulders up and back to undo years of hunching over a computer screen.
If you don’t have dumbbells, grab a couple of large water bottles then bend forward at your hips, arms hanging in front of you. Lift the weight up to your hips, pushing your elbows behind your body and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause at the top, then slowly lower.
Lunges x 10 Reps (Each Leg)
Remember what we said about your legs? Well, to burn more fat, you need to work them again.
Grab your dumbbells/water bottles and stand with your feet together. Step forward with your right leg, sinking down so your left knee almost touches the floor. Drive back through your right heel to step back, until your feet are together again.
Repeat with the left foot. When it gets easier, step forward further, sink lower and hold more wait.
Plank To Failure
If you’ve ever had back pain, it’s often because you’ve got a weak core. Working it from your very first session is the key to building total-body strength.
Kneel on the floor, with your forearms flat and elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Step back so you’re supporting your weight on your toes and arms, with your back flat. There should be a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
Hold yourself as long as possible, collapse, breathe, and repeat.