First Day at GYM | Beginners Full Workout | Yash Anand
The Overweight man’s first workout
Are you happy with your body? If this sounds like a loaded question, that's because it is. A new study from the American National Institute of Health found fewer overweight and obese individuals are attempting to slim down than ever before. The Fat Acceptance movement is promoting body positivity, and while feeling good in your own skin is obviously very important, we at MH Towers believe body health, not necessarily how you look but how you feel, matters too.
For those of you just starting on your fitness journey, we humbly present a guide to your very first workout. It's never too late to start.
Commiserations, gentlemen of Britain. According to recently published research by Public Health England (PHE), we are now the most inactive country in the western world. Even the US, long a bastion of obesity at it’s most extreme, has succumbed to our blubbery unwillingness to do anything.
But before you enjoy another celebratory slice of cake, consider this: the third of men who simply move from bed to office chair to sofa to bed, who’d rather wait for the next bus rather than run to catch this one, who greet an invitation to join the office five-a-side team with a derisive snort – these men will most likely see their quality of life ruined by heart disease, dementia and diabetes.
Two-thirds of Brits fail to log the government’s prescribed two-and-a-half hours of exercise each week. That's 50% more than our transatlantic cousins and double the rate of our Gallic neighbours. A sixth of deaths in the UK are directly attributable to inactivity – roughly the same number as killed by cigarettes. Our refusal to get out of our chairs currently costs the NHS £17.6bn a year; at least smokers self-fund their own treatment through tax.
Escalating inactivity means experts are predicting that, by 2050, more than half of Brits will be overweight. Fat will be the new normal and our health service will be brought to its knees. But there is a simple, free cure. Move. “If physical activity was a drug, we’d be hailing it as a miracle cure,” says PHE’s executive director of health and wellbeing, Kevin Fenton. Consider this your prescription, courtesy of former marine PT and founder of personal training app P4 Virtual Trainer, Dylan Jones.
Slow and steady
Most workout programmes fail because people do too much, too soon, hoping for drastic results. When they don’t come, it’s back to bad habits. “Start off slow,” says Jones. “Gradual introduction of movement will be more beneficial in the long term, both on your body and results.” Starting your transformation with suicidal supersets will play havoc with your body’s hormones and could even increase your propensity to store fat. You’ll also raise your risk of injury and, if your programme’s too hard, you won’t want to sustain it. Willpower’s a lot easier to maintain if you’re doing things you enjoy.
You’ll also be happy to hear that you should keep eating. “Don’t starve yourself. You’ll only slow your metabolism down further,” says Jones. Instead, look to gradually replace bad choices with healthy replacements – if Coke’s your vice, swap a can a day for a glass of water until you’ve cut the sugar syrup out entirely. And boost your activity levels by fitting this 15-minute, low impact at-home workout in three times a week. You’ll shed fat and build strength where it counts. Ideal for when you finally join the football team in a couple of months.
Chair squat stand-ups
“This is a great full-body exercise to tone your glutes and burn excess body fat,” says Jones. Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Sink down into it by pushing your hips back, keeping your back straight. As soon as you touch the seat, drive up through your heels to standing. Feel free to put your arms out for balance. Breathe, congratulate yourself on your first step to staving off heart disease, then lower and do 14 more.
Make it harder: Add in more sets as you progress, or hold two bottles of water to add resistance.
If you struggle to support yourself in a full press-up position, work the angles. Find a surface around waist height (higher if you want to make it easier) and stand at arms length. With your feet together, put your palms on the right angle at shoulder width and lean forward so your arms take your weight. Bend at the elbows to lower yourself. When your chest almost touches the surface, push back up explosively. Do 10, rest for 60secs, then repeat twice to swap moobs for pecs.
Make it harder: Reduce the angle so you’re closer to horizontal. Eventually, transition into full press-ups.
You don’t need a gym to build stamina. “This is a really effective way to shed the fat and build overall cardiovascular fitness,” says Jones. Plus, you’ll stop being late for work when you can sprint to catch that bus. Start at the bottom of the stairs. Look up, then sprint up the first flight. Catch your breath and slowly walk back down. Repeat until you can’t do anymore and be glad you don’t live in the Shard.
Make it harder: When you’re running up without getting out of breath, skip steps, so you run up two-at-a-time.
Stand with your feet together. Take a big step forward with your right leg, landing on your heel, and sink down until your thigh’s horizontal and your back knee almost touches the ground. If you’re falling over then use a wall for balance. Pause briefly at the bottom of the lunge then push back through the heel of the forward foot and put your feet back together. Repeat on the other side. Do five lunges on each foot, rest 60secs then repeat twice, to build stronger legs and melt away your spare tyres.
Make it harder: Step forward further or hold bottles of water in each hand.
The six-pack might seem some way away, but a strong core makes you stronger everywhere else. Kneel on the carpet with your toes on the ground and elbows beneath your shoulders. Straighten your legs so your body forms a straight line from head to heels – take care not to push your bum up or let your hips sink. Try to fight the shakes as you hold it for as long as possible, then sink onto the carpet and catch you breath. Twice more, then you’re done. Avoid the temptation to celebrate with a pint.
Make it harder: Time your first plank then try to beat it.
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