You were ready to change things in 2020: you wanted to torch fat, build muscle and get fit for the new year. But right now, that is harder than ever.
You might think that the only way to get fit is to hit the treadmill (opens in new tab) or exercise bike (opens in new tab) an hour a day, every day, or start doing heavy resistance training and full body workouts. And although all these activities would help you lose fat and build lean muscle mass – especially if your diet is correct – they also take a considerable amount of willpower to start.
Many people fall into the trap of changing their lifestyle too quickly, setting themselves up for failure. Going from eating pizza every night and doing no exercising to having leaf salad and loads of exercising will send your body into panic mode. You are more likely to abandon your new, healthier lifestyle.
Small, incremental changes might not melt fat off you in one week, but they will help ease you into a healthier lifestyle. And, of course, they will help you get fitter and slimmer, too.
We collected five strategies to help you on the journey of becoming fitter and healthier than ever before, even if you are feeling lazy. Not sure where to start? Here are some top tips on how to restart a fitness routine and how to lose weight.
5 strategies to get fit, even if you are lazy
The below tips are just the tip of the iceberg but they should still make you more fit and mobile, boost your metabolism and your cardiovascular system as well. By introducing these changes and strategies into your life you can make the first steps towards getting leaner and healthier.
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Apply some mobility changes
Want to get your body ready for rigorous exercising? The best way to start is to get more mobile. Our modern lifestyle makes us stationary, we tend to sit and stand a lot, arms hanging next to our bodies, head tilted forward as we stare at computer and phone screens.
You can feel fitter by applying a few mobility changes to your everyday life. Change things up at home and at work. We place items we use more often in the most convenient places in cupboards and wardrobes, and as much as it is convenient, it makes our bodies more rigid, too.
Try moving things out of the way. Make yourself reach higher up or deeper down for everyday items. Place all the snacks in the most obscure place in the kitchen. Put the shoes in the top compartment in the hallway cabinet. Move the side desk farther away from the sofa.
These small changes will help you mobilise your joints and even get you to do exercises in the process. Frying pan on the lowest shelf in the bottom cabinet? Better do a squat to get it.
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Drink more water
Even if you aren't planning on moving more, drinking more can help boost your metabolism. And when we say drinking more, we don't mean teas or coffees, or even juices, but water.
Green tea and coffee is healthy to consume (not in industrial quantities, though) but they are also slightly diuretic so they will make you pee more. Water, on the other hand, will aid your guts to process food quicker and also help rid toxins from your body.
As for juices, they aren't completely unhealthy but you shouldn't drink more than a glass a day. Juices are high in sugar and regardless of the source of this sugar, since there are no fibres in them – not even orange juice with bits is as fibery as an actual fruit – they will spike blood insulin levels.
Water has also no calories and you can drink of it as much as you want. By drinking more water, you will also feel less hungry since your stomach will be more stretched.
In case you still feel hungry, you can try swapping your unhealthy snacks for some healthy protein bars and snacks (opens in new tab). Protein takes longer to digest and many of the protein bars available on the market today are high in fibre and low on sugar, too, making them an ideal snacking option.
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Buy an exercise ball
Exercise balls are amazing. They are a versatile piece of equipment, like resistance bands (opens in new tab), and can be used for exercising as well as everyday activities. For example, sitting on an exercise ball when you watch TV or work on the computer requires you to use your core muscles, maybe not to the extent as when you use an ab roller (opens in new tab) but it is definitely a good start.
Sitting on an exercise ball will also naturally make you move around more. Not only do you roll forward and backwards a bit as you sit, making you use your ankle and knee joints more, but since you can't lean back, you are most likely to get up more often which in turn will help your metabolism and cardio system, too.
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Get (brisk) walking
High intensity cardio exercises like running or jumping on a rowing machine (opens in new tab) burn a lot of calories. But they also require considerable amount of effort and are not ideal for people who are overweight.
This is especially true for running. Carrying extra weight will put more pressure on your joints and although running can make your bones stronger, it takes time to build up the base stamina to be able to run more efficiently.
At the beginning, you're better off with brisk walking. Brisk walking is the next best thing to running as it requires less effort but also burns calories and helps metabolism and cardio health, too.
You don't need any special gear either, although good pair of walking shoes (opens in new tab) or running shoes (opens in new tab) can make walking significantly more comfortable. To track your steps, get a fitness tracker (opens in new tab) or a running watch (opens in new tab), these devices can also measure heart rate and calories burned.
Also, research showed (opens in new tab) that people who listen to music with higher rpm will walk faster, so you might as well get a pair of sweat-proof running headphones (opens in new tab) too. This will also make the walking sessions more enjoyable.
Try to swap some of your car journeys to walking sessions instead and also add a bigger walking session to your weekend plans. Once you get used to brisk walking, start adding some jogging intervals to your walks.
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Try HIIT workouts
HIIT (high intensity interval training) is the perfect workout for the time poor (although maybe it would be a push to call it ‘lazy’). HIIT workouts use short bursts of high intensity exercises to bring the heart rate up, followed by short intervals of low intensity intervals.
HIIT can effectively burn fat, not only during the workout but up to 24 hours after the HIIT session. It can also be done using a variety of equipment: there are indoor exercise bike (opens in new tab) HIIT classes as well as kettlebell (opens in new tab) HIIT workouts, or you can just use a jump rope if you want.
HIIT is also good because it is easier for many people to maintain high intensity exercising for shorter periods than it is to maintain a moderate tempo for longer (a.k.a. running). A HIIT workout can be over and done with in 20-30 minutes, just take your protein powder (opens in new tab) mix plus a banana and you're sorted for the day.
SIXPAD Electric Muscle Stimulation Training Gear | Prices from £175 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
SIXPAD training gear won't replace hard work but it can make it more effective. These cordless pads can effectively enhance muscle stimulation and can "help users achieve a 8% improvement in abdominal muscle size after 4 weeks alongside a balanced diet and exercise" – or so does SIXPAD claim. The percentage goes up to 12% after 12 weeks and many SIXPAD products can be used in other areas than just your abs.
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This is part of T3's Get Fit for 2021 (opens in new tab) programme, which will be running throughout January. This story is brought to you in association with our friends at RHA headphones (opens in new tab). We will bring you tips on diet, lifestyle and exercise that will help you shape up for what is certain to be a difficult year. One thing we can guarantee: it WILL be better than last year. We'll help you get the most out of it.