THERE’S no escaping the fact that Christmas delivers one very unwelcome present along with the smellies, chocolates and bottles of booze – a guaranteed few extra pounds on the waistline.
Now the festive season is quickly becoming a distant memory, it’s time to shift the focus from mince pies and Christmas pudding to working out ways to ditch that extra padding.
And while there might be a surge in gym memberships and enrolments into slimming clubs over the coming weeks, there’s no need to spend a fortune getting into shape.
The DIY method of getting trim is often ditched quicker than the Christmas tree, but by working a little bit of exercise and healthy eating into your daily routine, it might not be as intrusive or difficult as you fear.
In fact, just doing normal household chores can be a great way to get trim. Personal trainer Faye Tomlinson reveals five ways to get lean while you clean.
Mopping and sweeping
“Perform walking lunges as you mop or sweep,” says Faye. “Ten minutes of walking lunges can help you achieve toned thighs (quadriceps) and a tight bottom (glutes). Stretch out your arms in a smooth flowing motion. Keep your back straight and ensure your front knee is at a 90-degree angle and the back knee is an inch from the floor.
“Try to give 100 per cent effort to the activity and move as quickly in and out of the lunge stretch as you can. This will keep you working at a higher intensity, help elevate your heart rate and help burn fat.”
“Perform squats while cleaning windows,” says Faye. “Squats effectively work most of the major muscle groups of the bottom, hips and thighs, plus give your arms and legs a great dual workout.
“With feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight, squat low to the ground (sitting down into your bottom). Then stretch up high, moving your arms in a circular motion.
“To increase the effect, give your bottom an extra squeeze when returning to a standing position and keep your tummy tight during the squat.
“Try to perform at least eight to 12 squats per repetition and repeat this about three times, resting in between each rep.”
Scrubbing the floor
“While you’re on your hands and knees scrubbing the floor, take the opportunity to do at least ten reps of press-ups as you move from area to area,” says Faye. “Engage your upper back, shoulders and arms to lift your body weight off the floor, then slowly lower it back down again.
“If you can’t do press-ups (or push-ups) on your toes, don’t worry – you can push up from your knees (why not put a towel under your knees for added comfort). As long as you’re putting sufficient body weight behind the action you will feel the benefit.
“The press-up is excellent for building upper body strength, endurance and core stability – and remember to also keep that tummy pulled in too!”
Hanging out the washing
“Twisting as you transfer wet washing from the basket to the line or tumble dryer is great for your oblique muscles on the side of your stomach. In addition, clenching your bottom will help tone problem areas and burn calories too,” says Faye.
“Keep your head facing forward and twist at your torso. Also while you’re hanging out your washing, try balancing on one leg for 30 seconds, then the other.
“To help tone calf muscles, perform 30 calf raises (getting up and down on tip toes). Repeat this five times.”
Bedrooms and bathrooms
“If your house has stairs, this is a great opportunity to get your heart pumping and tone your bottom too,” says Faye.
“Instead of walking up the stairs to clean bedrooms and upper bathrooms, race up the stairs – turn around, go back down and run up again. Do this for as long as you can manage.
“Carrying bottles of cleaning liquids and cloths adds a small amount of weight to the exercise, which will help to burn even more fat.”
Check your diet
And of course, there’s no point in going to the effort of working out if you don’t combine it with a healthy diet.
But there’s no need to sign up to time-consuming slimming clubs or buy pre-prepared meals via expensive dieting schemes.
Instead, make a small investment in a recipe book which suits your needs and prepare your own home-cooked meals.
There are plenty of books on the market to meet all requirements, but here are a couple of examples of what’s on offer:
n The i Diet: 100 Healthy Italian Recipes to Help you Lose Weight and Love Food by Gino D’Acampo (£14.99, Kyle Books)
A collection of tantalising Italian recipes from celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo. 100 mouth-watering healthy meals to choose from, including Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce, Baked Peaches with Berries & Honey, Rocket and Butternut Squash Soup and Fresh Lemon Sorbet.
n Low Carb Revolution: Comfort Eating for Good Health by Annie Bell (£16.99, Kyle Books)
Join food writer Annie Bell on a journey to feeling great and staying slim with the Low Carb Revolution. Featuring 140 family-friendly recipes, including a Chicken and Aubergine Tagine Traybake, Spicy Root Veg Soup, Cottage Pie with Leek and Cauliflower Mash, Moussey Chocolate Cake and a tempting Crustless Mango Cheesecake. All simple to make and delicious to eat.