Health & Diet

Weight loss: Turn your daily walk into an interval workout – PT shares top fitness tips

Alexa Collins shows off figure in workout on Instagram

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Workouts have had to happen in homes and in parks during lockdown as gyms were closed. This has thwarted the weight loss plans of countless Britons. However, fitness doesn’t have to be elusive as some might think.

It’s surprisingly easy to turn a simple walk into a workout, an expert has explained.

Dean Hodgkin, PT and Head of Programming at fitness and wellness community app, TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT, exclusively explained to Expresss.co.uk what to do.

“For a great 20-minute workout, set your walk into three pace levels,” he said.

These are as follows:

Level One: Walk with speed at moderate effort level, say 5 out of 10.

Level Two: Ramp up the intensity to around 7 out of ten.

Level Three: Walk at top speed.

“Begin with a five minute warm-up at level one, and then build to level two for 12 minutes, interspersing this with 30-second bursts of level three,” Dean detailed.

“Finish with a three minute cool down at level one to get your breath back and to bring your pulse and temperature back up to normal.”

There are lots of ways you can help yourself along the way.

“Use markers such as the next tree or lamppost as your distance for top speed walking,” the fitness pro advised.

“Or alternatively if you are listening to music, I would walk at level two for the verse and then hit top speed for the duration of the chorus.”

Dean added: “There are no hard and fast rules on the time and distance, as long as you keep pushing yourself to a few brief level three ‘sprints’, you will be doing interval training which is proven to be the best way to burn calories.”

If you want to make your workout a bit more intense there are other moves you can incorporate to feel the burn.

“In addition to the varying speeds approach above, I would also recommend introducing pauses on your walk for a few bodyweight toning exercises,” said the PT.

“My optimum choices are squats, press-ups on a low fence or wall, alternate rear lunges, incline pull-ups on a low branch and triceps dips on the edge of a park bench.

“Try and aim for three sets of 12-15 repetitions of each exercise.

“This routine will target all the major muscle groups leading to great whole-body results.”

For those who don’t have access to a park, there are still ways you can get moving at home without any fancy equipment.

“Walking up and down your stairs will provide a great cardio session and if you live in a flat or bungalow, simply march on the spot while you’re watching your favourite TV programme,” Dean recommended.

“Remember, wherever you do them, every step moves you closer to your weight loss and fitness goals.”

Monitoring what you eat and drink is also key to weight loss – and Dean has tips to help with this, too.

“An obvious but often undervalued tactic is to rid your kitchen of any sugary treats so you won’t be tempted to polish them off in a fit of anger or sadness,” he explained.

“You know what they say, ‘A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’, so start by being more considered in your supermarket purchasing behaviours so you don’t have so many temptations around you.”

The PT continued: “Another tip I have is called the N.E.A.T. Trick – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It is a term used to describe everyday movements such as walking, standing, carrying and even fidgeting.

“The good news is that research has shown that this can add up to expenditure of 350 calories per day, not far short of most workouts.

“So, cycling to the shops, taking the stairs rather than the lift, etc., really will add up to make a difference.”

Lastly, Dean advised: “My final tip to lose weight in lockdown is to count your calories – if you really want to shed a few pounds, it doesn’t take much to stay disciplined and read the labels on the items of food you buy.

“Generally, men need approximately 2,500 calories per day to maintain a healthy body weight, whereas women require around 2,000.

“To lose weight, aiming for a sensible deficit of around 500 calories should help you achieve your goals. Experts agree that slower weight loss is much more likely to be permanent rather than crash diets!”

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