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So, you’ve found a gym you love and signed up as a member. Now what? Whether you’re busting the festive flab, toning up for a winter sun break, training for a marathon, or getting back to exercise post-baby, here are some tips for achieving a fitter, leaner, stronger you in 2018…and sticking with it.

Multi-tasking = timesaving

Work, family, housework, hobbies…sometimes it’s really hard to find time for exercise (and easier to find excuses!). To make it seem more manageable, why not combine your cardio and weights to maximise the time you do have to escape to the gym? Jump on a treadmill holding a light to medium weight dumbbell in each hand and set the speed to a brisk pace. As you walk, combine your cardio with a few sets of strengthening shoulder presses, biceps curls, and triceps extensions. This challenge will burn fat and tone you up at the same time.

When’s the interval?

You might have heard of HIIT, otherwise known as High Intensity Interval Training. Another time efficient way of exercising, this style of workout combines bursts of high-intensity aerobic exercise (such as running very fast on the treadmill) with slower recovery periods. Twenty minutes of HIIT training can burn as many calories as one whole hour of steady cardiovascular exercise, so it’s another option for the time-poor among us. What’s more, interval training means your body continues to use energy (i.e. calories!) at a higher rate for up to 3 hours after you’ve finished the session.

Chart your progress & reward yourself

Report cards aren’t just for school, they’re a brilliant way to track how well you’re doing with your new year’s resolution to get fitter. Create 4 sections: Cardio, Muscle Conditioning, Flexibility and Attitude. For each, assign a goal e.g. to do twenty burpees, skip for ten minutes without stopping, or exercise 3 times a week. Measure your progress with a grade A-F at four points throughout the year, like Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Not only will you see how well you’re doing, every time you achieve a higher grade you have the perfect excuse to give yourself a reward, such a beauty treatment or a delicious meal at a restaurant.Chart your progress & reward yourself

Have a break

Extremes aren’t sustainable. If you begin the year by setting yourself a rule that you MUST exercise every day, it’ll only take a couple of missed sessions (which is bound to happen…because you’re only human) before you’re binning the whole idea as a failure and giving up altogether. Set realistic goals. Which days of the week and times of day are most achievable for you? Plan your workout around your lifestyle and you’re so much more likely to stick to it. And remember that breaks are healthy too; an all-or-nothing approach isn’t healthy for your body either.

Carbs matter!

We saved the best tip until last! These days we read a lot about high protein, low carbohydrate diets being the ticket to a slimmer, more toned physique. But if you’re exercising regularly, carbs are essential for fuelling the body. Without them, you may feel tired and the effort you put into your workout might be compromised. Carbs also boost mood-regulating, stress-reducing chemicals in the brain, and high-protein, fatty foods may deplete them. In other words, don’t worry, be happy and have a snack! Some healthy options: peanut butter and oatcakes, a handful of nuts and raisins, or a low-fat yogurt with a banana.

Please note, if you have any injuries or illnesses, always check with a medical or fitness professional before starting a new exercise regime, so you know it’s suitable for you.

Find out more about Horizons Gym at Apollo Hotel Basingstoke and how we can help you get fitter and healthier in 2018.

To get a free 7-day gym pass to kickstart your fitness in 2018, call 01256 796719

View our January gym & swim membership offers