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New year, new you!

Start the New Year on a healthy note with these top tips from Eleanor Heaton-Armstrong

The popper string has finally been cleared away, the charity shops are groaning under the weight of their new stock, and you don’t care if you never see another bottle of prosecco again. Christmas and 2018 are over and we are at the start of a new year. It’s a time when many of us start to think about perhaps taking up a new fitness routine or adopting a healthier approach to life.

Whether you are simply returning to normal habits or beginning a completely new diet and fitness regime, approaching the ‘new you’ can seem like a daunting prospect. Below are a few sensible, easy-to-tackle pointers to help get the ball rolling.

Go natural. Focus on healthy, natural sources of protein, carbohydrates and fat at every meal, with plenty of produce. For example, think oats with banana, berries and peanut butter for breakfast; tuna pasta salad with peppers, tomato and cucumber for lunch; and salmon, broccoli, potatoes and spinach for dinner. Try to eat as little processed food as possible.

Be sensible. Yes, it’s best to limit the amount of crisps, biscuits, crackers, chocolate, sweets and cake you eat, but you do not need to completely eliminate the things you enjoy from your diet. Just be sensible. If you’re trying to lose weight, just have a couple of squares of chocolate rather than the whole bar.

Watch your portions. Portion size is key when it comes to intuitive eating. Listen to your body and eat until you are satisfied rather than full. Commit to your meal, enjoy it and concentrate on what you’re eating.

The all-over workout

For an all-over body workout why not try three to five rounds of the below routine. Don’t forget to consult your doctor before undertaking any kind of exercise regime. You can always increase or decrease the intensity by removing or including impact.

30 seconds: burpees
How to do it:
Moving through the waist, place your hands on the floor and kick your feet back into a high plank and straight back in again, keeping your knees as straight as you can. Once upright, jump as high as you can to complete the movement.

30 seconds: rest

30 seconds: wide press-ups
How to do it:
Place your hands outside your shoulders and stick your elbows out horizontally, lowering your chest as close to the floor as possible. You can place your knees on the floor for a half-press up – just make sure the weight is loaded forward onto your upper body.

30 seconds: rest

30 seconds: squats
How to do it:
Moving backwards through your hips, bring your glutes down to your knees as if trying to find an invisible chair behind you. Keep the weight in your heels and your chest up and squeeze your bottom at the top!

30 seconds: rest

30 seconds: single leg raises
How to do it:
Lie on your back with both feet in the air, legs straight. You can place your hands under your glutes if you feel your lower back is compromised. Slowly lower one leg until you feel your core engage, raise back up and repeat with the other leg.

30 seconds: rest

60 seconds: sprint on the spot

60 seconds: rest

With all the focus on turning over a new leaf, make sure you are honest and realistic about what you can achieve and, most importantly, be kind to yourself. Progress might be slow at first, but keep going and concentrate on how you are feeling mentally. Forget the scales and your weight – the new you should be happier and healthier above all else.

Eleanor Heaton-Armstrong is a personal trainer and advanced nutrition coach. Follow her on social media @trainedbyeleanor or visit her website:

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