With spring just around the corner, it’s a lovely time of year to start considering exercising outside. You can’t beat the endorphin boost you get from a brisk hike at sunrise or sunset, a long dog walk with loved ones after lunch on a Sunday, or a long, leisurely bike ride on a Saturday afternoon.
We wondered if there are any extra ways that we can amp up those workouts, without it feeling like hard work: “You can go for a bike road to your local park and take a skipping rope with you in a back pack, stop at the park and skip for twenty minutes, then ride home a different route,” says Gunnar Peterson, who is a Beverly Hills-based trainer who has worked out with stars including; Jennifer Lopez, Gisele and Kendall Jenner, and was the man that got Angelina Jolie ready for that Tomb Raider costume. “At home you can get down on the floor and do press ups and you can also do squats. I call squats the king of exercise, I tell my clients to see them as their best friends. They work the biggest muscle group in your body called the glutes.
“Anyone can do squats every day in their home or at the local park. If you’re working out at home, you can do a good hour-long workout with a skipping rope and a medicine ball; do some jumping jacks, squats and crunches. Put on your favourite music and blast it out really loud, music is one of the best instant motivators. The next day, go to your local pool and go for a swim. The day after that go for a brisk walk or a run, I can’t stress enough how important changing it up and making your body and muscle groups work and constantly having to adapt to the exercise you’re doing is.”
What about getting ready for swimsuit season after a long winter filled with chocolates, cakes and cookies? “The one thing I tell people if they want to lose weight is reduce your calorie intake significantly at the end of the day. So reduce your dinner by forty percent, your lunch by thirty and your breakfast by twenty percent,” Gunnar tells Lumity.
“You can do it by eye, so there’s less food on the plate, but it’s really just common sense.
“Throw away your weighing scales! I don’t have them in my gym. If you want to know if you’re getting results, try on a pair of your favourite jeans. But always at the same time of day as your body fluctuates throughout the day. So many people get demotivated by what they weigh and scales cause untold emotional damage when in fact it’s irrelevant. It’s about how good you feel.”
What about tips for those of us who want to kick up our gym workouts a notch or ten? “I always say, ‘Ask yourself how hard you’re working’ and if you’re able to read the newspaper while you’re on the treadmill then you’re not working hard enough,” says Gunnar, who is known for his full body transformations. (Think Jennifer Lopez losing 50lbs after giving birth to her twins Max and Emme.)
“For fitness goals aim as high as you can, vow to do the best you can, that way you’ll be very happy with your results,” says Gunnar. “Make every second spent working out count. You can’t beat old-fashioned cardio that works your whole body all at one time like rowing or press ups. There are no short cuts when it comes to fitness but if you work as many groups of muscles in your body as hard as you can then you really don’t need to spend hours in the gym.
“For people who say they don’t have time to exercise, it’s just not true! Everyone can find an hour three times a week. And it’s not just about finding time to spend in the gym. If you feel good it changes all other areas of your life in a positive way.. Your relationships will be better if you’re feeling confident and you’ll feel better sitting in an office all day if you’ve got up early and done something that is just for you.
“Don’t deprive yourself of the delicious stuff though and if you fall off the wagon, say if you go on holiday for a week and eat lots of calorific food, remember you can’t do a lot of damage in one week, so pick yourself up and carry on.
“On the whole, try to make informed choices about what you eat; if you try to stick to good, wholesome food with lots of fruit, vegetables and quality protein and you can’t go wrong. Steer clear of processed food and think about what you’re putting in your body, lots of sugar, salt and fat will make you feel terrible.
“Another good tip is to get lots of sleep, if you’re rested you’ll have the energy to get up and go to the gym.
“The best motivation is if you decide to do it for yourself, doing it for someone else won’t work as well. Do it for you.”