How often have you skipped your planned exercise session, only to decide later on that you really should do something? Something short, sharp and effective.
We’ve all been there. Your stomach feels a bit wobbly, the staff at the gym haven’t seen you for days (OK, weeks), but you haven’t got the energy to dig out the class timetable, never mind lace up trainers.
Fitness expert Laura Williams sees this a lot: “I’m always sending personal training clients short workouts to tick those five-minute guilt windows,” she says. “I’m a big believer in putting negative emotions like guilt and panic to good use.”
And it’s always the belly area, she adds. “It’s where most of us carry the bulk of our fat stores, and while that area responds well to exercise, it’s also the first to feel a bit squishy when we let things slide – isn’t it the first area you prod when you’ve overdone it?”
So what are her tips for getting back on track after a little bit of overindulgence?
Put remorse to good use
Don’t sit and panic about how much you’ve eaten – it’s a waste of energy and will most likely propel you in the direction of the kitchen, rather than the gym. Cut your losses, stick on your trainers and look on the bright side – all that fine fare will give you bundles of energy to exercise.
Know that something is better than nothing
Whizzing through a short routine like this will make a difference. It’ll burn a few calories and it will also help to get tone and strength back into your muscles, which will help you burn future calories more efficiently.
Get everyone on board
Are you tasked with cooking dinner? Or ferrying the kids to football? Fixing the telly? Tell your team none of this happens until the workout’s done. Show them you mean business; confiscate remote and snacks, invest in a clipboard and a stopwatch and go full drill instructor.
Keep it up
Killer bodies are crafted from… consistency. Yep, forget the ultimate fat-burning supplement or draconian routines you can’t stick to for more than a day or two, discipline and consistency are the fast track to a toned tum.
Williams has designed this short, effective routine that you can do before an evening out – or before you settle on the sofa for the night.
Seated in-and-out crunch
Sit on the floor with legs bent, feet off the floor. Bend your arms and edge back towards the floor at the same time as straightening your legs. Perform 30 reps at a fast pace, without losing your form. Stop if you feel it in your back at any time.
Plank with sweep and kick
With your weight positioned on your elbows and ball of one foot, extend your leg out to the side, before sweeping it back and above your opposite buttock to kick the air. Repeat. Do eight on each side. Make sure your body maintains a straight line from elbow to heel.
Seated Russian twist
From a seated position, extend your legs out in front of you, arms above one shoulder. Sweep arms diagonally down to your opposite hip and back up. Do six on each side.
Lie on your back with your head on the floor, legs extended above hips. Keeping your back flat, circle your legs towards the floor in an anti-clockwise direction. Do six circles, then change direction. If you feel it in your back, stop.
From a plank position, with your weight distributed on your elbows and balls of feet, jump feet apart at a fast pace. Avoid arching your back – stop if you feel it in your back. Do 20 jacks, rest and repeat.