Often, it’s not until you flick through the summer holiday photographs that you realise quite how much rounder the face smiling back at you has become. Surveys show that the average Briton puts on 3-5lb during a two-week holiday. It can be depressing, but you can, within reason, lose the weight you gained as quickly as you put it on. I have devised a two-week exercise plan that is similar to a programme I use with my celebrity clients who need to get into shape quickly for a film role or ared-carpet appearance.
I am proposing a mix of strengthening exercises that will tone your arms, legs and middle, while also burning calories. These are backed up with cardiovascular exercise for weight loss — you can choose whether you run, swim, cycle or use a cross-trainer at the gym. I have included a couple of days of interval training, which is a proven way to burn fat quickly. Interval training also means that you keep burning fat for hours after working out. There are lots of blasts of high intensity exercise to really make your body increase its calorie burning. Build up gradually over the two weeks, so that you are doing longer cardio sessions during the second week.
You can choose on which day you have your rest day — all the other workouts should be done in order. Try to do the strength/toning before cardio (you could separate them too, and do toning in the morning and cardio in the afternoon if that suits you better). Combined with my healthy eating rules, you can expect to shed the holiday pounds, and possibly even more. Whatever the weight loss, you will definitely achieve a leaner body and a flatter tummy. And if you’re a regular exerciser, this is a good post-holiday plan to get you back into a routine.
The 14-day fitnesss plan
Toning: Repeat this circuit twice: do an oblique plank raise 20 times on each side, then knee crossover tucks for 30 reps on each side (see right).
Fat burning: Do ten minutes of interval cardio training: sprint or walk very fast for 40 seconds, then rest completely for 20 seconds. Repeat ten times.
Toning: Do this circuit twice: do a bent-over row 12 times, then tricep dips until you can’t do any more (around 15-20), then plank to press-ups until you can’t do any more (around 10-15 depending on fitness levels), then reverse lunges (20 reps per leg), and finally 15 squats with weights.
Toning: Do the same as day one
Fat burning: Do 30 minutes of cardio (swimming, cycling or running).
Toning: Do 25 sit-ups with weights, then do plank to press-ups until you can’t do any more (around 10-15 depending on fitness levels).
Fat burning: Do the same interval training that you did on day one.
Toning: Do this circuit twice: do a bent-over row 12 times, then tricep dips until you can’t do any more (between 15 and 20 depending on fitness levels), then plank to press-ups until you can’t do any more (probably around 10-15).
Fat burning: Do these intervals: run or cycle (or use a cross-trainer if you’re a member of a gym) really fast for two minutes, then do one minute of the same exercise at a slower pace, for 20 minutes.
Toning: Do this mini-circuit twice: 25 sit-ups with weights, then oblique plank raises (20 on each side).
Fat burning: Do cardio (jogging, walking or cycling) for 45-60 minutes at a moderate speed.
Toning: Repeat this mini-circuit twice: do plank to press-ups until you can’t do any more (probably around 15-20 now that you are getting stronger), then do knee crossover tucks 30 times (15 times on each side).
Fat burning: Do cardio intervals (running, or on a cross trainer or bike) for 12 minutes: sprint for 30 seconds, then do 30 seconds at a slower pace.
Toning: Repeat this circuit twice: do 20 reverse lunges on each leg, then 15 squats with weights, then plank to press-ups until you can’t do any more (probably between 15 and 20).
Fat burning: Do cardio for 40 minutes (running, swimming etc), at a fast pace.
Toning: Repeat this mini-circuit twice: do a bent-over row 12 times, then do tricep dips until you can’t do any more (probably between 20 and 25).
Fat burning: Do these cardio intervals for 12 minutes: run, walk or cycle fast for three minutes, then do one minute at a slower pace.
Toning: Do this circuit twice: 20 reverse lunges on each leg, 15 squats with weights, plank to press-ups until you can’t do any more (probably around 15-20), then knee crossover tucks 30 times (15 times on each side).
Fat burning: Go running, rowing or cycling for 10 minutes at a fairly fast pace.
Toning: Do this circuit twice: 25 weighted sit-ups, then 20 oblique plank raises on each side.
Fat burning: Do these cardio intervals for a total of 30 minutes: run, cycle or swim for 90 seconds at a fast pace, then rest for 30 seconds and repeat.
Toning: Repeat this circuit twice: 25 weighted sit-ups, 20 oblique plank raises on each side, then knee crossover tucks 30 times (15 times on each side).
Fat burning: Do a fast walk or jog for 75 minutes.
Bent-over row: Bend forwards with your knees slightly bent, bottom out and let the dumbbells (around 2kg each) hang beneath your shoulders. Pull the dumbbells in towards your belly button, with elbows snug, brushing your ribs on the way up. Repeat
Knee cross-over tucks: Put the palms of your hands on the floor under your shoulders, with your legs straight, the balls of your feet on the ground and your arms straight, maintaining a stable torso. Holding this position, lift one foot off the floor and bring the knee in, across your upper body towards your armpit. Lower to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.
Tricep dips: Stand in front of a bench or chair and place your hands on the edge behind you. With elbows close to the body and hips straight, lower your body until your upper arms and forearms form a right angle. Keep your legs outstretched and feet flat on the floor. Push your body up and repeat.
Reverse lunges: Stand on a low step or box with your feet shoulder-width apart and one leg slightly behind the other. Take a big step backwards with the back leg. Then, keeping your torso upright, lower your knee until both knees are bent to 90 degrees. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Weighted squats: Hold a dumbbell or weight (it can be quite heavy as you are lifting with your legs not your arms) in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees and toes slightly pointing outwards. Keep your back straight and head up. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Slowly return to the start position. Repeat.
Plank to push-up: Assume a plank position, with your elbows on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Straighten the right arm, following with the left, to assume a full press-up position. Return to the plank position by reversing the arm movements. Repeat for half the amount of times you need to perform the exercise, then switch your starting arm.