January is upon us and no sooner has the new year hangover subsided than we’re consumed with thoughts of keeping fit and shedding those unwanted Christmas kilos. It all begins with such optimism. A fresh start, firm resolutions. This year I’m giving up smoking, drinking, sugar, dairy, swearing and I may as well chuck in living and breathing for good measure. One of the few things we seem to take up rather than give up is exercise. We promise ourselves we’ll do lots of it and that we’ll stick to every government guideline. At present, the NHS advises that adults aged 19 to 64 ‘should do at least 150 minutes moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week and strength exercises on two or more days a week that will work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). Which sounds like an awful lot. But, since even the most fitness averse amongst us have to start somewhere, why not make the most of January’s optimism before it subsides into February’s guilt? Here are four fresh ways to keep fit for 2019.
F45 may sound like a frightening diet supplement, but it is in fact a new method of fitness currently taking the UK by storm, having been founded in Australia in 2012. The challenge, which lasts for eight weeks, seems to involve surrendering your entire life to fitness, but the results are impressive. F45 training merges three concepts: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT), Functional Training and Circuit Training. The three together, F45 claims, provide the most effective workout for burning fat and building muscle. The workout is complemented by a diet, or a ‘meal plan,’ consisting of lean white meat, vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds. Not for the faint hearted, but find your nearest F45 studio here.
If the Scandis are doing it, we will be soon. I present Plogging: an exercise movement that started in Sweden in 2016 and has slowly crept over to British shores. It combines jogging with picking up litter. As a workout, plogging is hailed for spicing up the traditional job by adding a variety of moves including bending, squatting and stretching as you rescue the planet from plastic. What’s brilliant about plogging is the great outdoors: there is something quite depressing about sweaty studios and bright lights that illuminate your every pore. So instead of being depressed by the sight of yourself, be depressed by the carelessness of man. Find your local plogging community here.
Boxing is having something of a renaissance. Once considered the practice of thugs and angry men, 2018 saw boxing seep into the mainstream, and it shows no sign of stopping. You don’t have to be aggressive to enjoy boxing, although of course it helps. The high-impact intense workout is an excellent form of endorphin production, and God knows we all need more endorphins, particularly throughout the dark January nights. Furthermore, it increases strength in both your bones and your muscles, boosts cardiovascular health and supports weight loss. What’s not to love?
‘Party on a bike’ is the tagline for Boom Cycle, the spinning class with a difference that has taken the capital by storm. It promises to ‘put the fun factor in to getting your sweat on!’ which sounds completely terrifying but friends of mine swear by it. Complete with low-lighting, loud music, and unbelievably enthusiastic instructors, Boom Cycle is a spruced up version of spinning (exercise bikes to you and I). Spinning is undeniably effective: an hour’s class can burn up to 1000 calories (if your instructor is a monster), and it also serves to work your quadriceps, hamstrings, back, upper body, and exercise your heart. Find your nearest Boom Cycle studio here.