FITNESS EXPERT

Stay on track with Lucy Wyndham Read’s motivation secrets

We’re in the midst of the festive season and it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise with so much going on. Try my ideas to help you keep inspired.

1.TEMPTYOURSELF

The effort:reward ratio can oftenbe heavily swayed in the effort cornerwhen you’re training hard. So havesomething to look forward to after atough session by trying new post-workout snacks. Body-boosting bananasplit– slice a banana lengthways andtop with a thin layer of pure nutbutter, then place the other slice ofbanana back on top. It’s a good mix ofcarbs and protein, so replaces energy levels.Homemade sports bites – take a handfulof almonds, dried apricots, two teaspoons ofhemp seeds, two teaspoons of coconut oil,a drizzle of vanilla essence and a pinch ofcinnamon. Blitz in a food processor to asmooth paste. Divide into bitesize rounds andchill for an hour. Roll in some coconut shavingsor ground nuts.Seriously good smoothie – whizz a handfuleach of blackberries, blueberries andstrawberries with 250ml of soya or almond milkand a pinch of cinnamon in a blender. It’s ahealthy sweet treat with only 140 calories andjust three grams of fat. Bonus!

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2.POINTS WIN PRIZES!

Create your own points system forexercise. Aim to do at least one of the activitiesin the list below every day. Every time you doany of these for 10 minutes, you earn theindicated number of points. Try to earn atleast 100 points a week.Walking: 10

Cycling: 10

Running: 15

Housework: 10

Swimming: 10

Home Toning: 10

3.PUMP IT UP

Try using music to motivate you justbefore your workout. Remember theinspirational Olympic athletes looking focusedwhile listening to their pre-event tunes lastsummer? Mo Farah favours Jay Z, while EllieSimmonds gets fired up to Eminem before arace. Kanye West’s Monster gets Jessica Ennisthrough her tough training.

4.TESTYOURSELF

There’s no better motivation than seeing results. Track your progress by taking a five-minute fitness test twice a week. See howmany press-ups, tricep dips and lunges you cando, then try to improve it every time. Even onemore rep is a sign you’re getting fitter andstronger and gives you a good incentive topush as much as you can. Don’t have fiveminutes? See how many burpees you can doin 30 seconds for a quick cardio burst.

5.CREATE A MOOD BOARD

Find inspirational magazine images thatwill motivate you to stay on track. It might bea sportsperson with your ideal body or a dressyou’d like to wear. Cut the pictures out andkeep them to hand as your instant visualreminder of how you want to look. Or do theequivalent online, creating a moodboard with Pinterest.com.

Lucy Wyndham-Read is the author of The No Gym Workout designed to motivate busy women and get results fast. Lucy produces women’s fitness albums and apps from running workouts to postnatal plans. Visit lwrfitness.com.

Q+A

I wear high heels every day for work – am I damaging my muscles?

According to a recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, wearing high heels regularly for long periods shortens your calf muscles, which can also put

muscles, which can also putstrain on your tendons andcan make it painful to wearflat shoes. To counteractthis, make sure you do calfstretches several times aweek. Step back with oneleg, keeping it straight andthe heel down, with both feetpointing forwards. Rest yourhands on your bent forwardleg. Feel the stretch lowdown in your rear leg. Holdfor 10 seconds. A good ruleof thumb is to hold for 10seconds for every inch ofheel – so for a five-inchheel, hold for 50 seconds.

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