1. Prep For Success: Find some time during your weekend to make large batches of healthy meals. These can be divided into portions to cover at least a couple of mid-week lunches and dinners, avoiding the dietary perils of takeaways and meal deals.
2. Mix Up Your Exercise: Variety is – cliché alert! – the spice of life, and many sports and activities support each other in ways you won't realise until you try them. For example, strength training for your legs and core will make you a better runner, while those addicted to free weights will find Pilates works muscles they'd never even considered.
3. Add In Short Bursts Of Activity: It's the oldest quick fitness fix in the book: take the stairs, not the escalator, or get off the bus a stop early and walk. Any activity is good activity, and will only encourage you to do more. And if you really want to up the ante, try sprinting up the stairs (safely now) each time you take them – a recent study by a Canadian university found that short bursts of high-intensity stair-climbing can make a significant difference to your cardio-respiratory fitness.
4. Keep Tabs On Your Visceral Fat: You can be skinny on the outside (at least your arms and legs), but fat on the inside. Visceral fat is the type that builds up around your organs and often results in a pot belly. It’s linked with heart disease, several cancers and type 2 diabetes. Check your waist-to-height ratio to see if you’re at risk. Take a piece of string, use it to measure your height and then halve it. If it doesn’t fit around your waist, start exercising – visceral fat is the first type to go when you start working out.
5. Value Your Rest Days: When you start on a fitness kick, it’s tempting to exercise every day while motivation is high. This is a bad move, and one that will see your enthusiasm burn out within weeks, because you’re always tired and won’t see the massive improvements you expect for your Herculean efforts. Why? You’re not giving your muscles the time they need to recover and grow.
6. Don’t Undervalue Your Sleep: Getting the full seven to eight hours’ sleep per night is vital to a healthy lifestyle, as it provides the energy for your exercise and even influences dietary choices – a 2016 study found that in the day following a night of limited sleep, people ate an extra 385 calories on average.