Fitness first in Kent

Make 2011 the year you really get into shape, and that's not necessarily by joining a gym – how about a spot of bootcamp or even Zumba?

Fitness first in Kent

Make 2011 the year you really get into shape, and that’s not necessarily by joining a gym – how about a spot of bootcamp or even Zumba?

A New Year and a new start! If you’re anything like me, you say it every year but when it comes to actually doing something about it, it’s a different matter.

But 2010 was the year that I decided to practice what I preach and I enrolled on a fitness bootcamp. I’m not going to pretend it was easy, but the difference it’s made to my wellbeing, fitness levels and body tone is amazing.

When I faced the prospect of getting up at 6am three mornings a week to do an hour’s exercise in the outdoors, come rain or shine, I was certain it wouldn’t be for me. But the feel-good factor kicked in after just a week and I’ve lost inches, dropped a dress size, toned up and gained a new outlook on life in the process. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve started on that journey.

Joining a gym is the option we all automatically think of at this time a year. If that’s your cup of tea, make sure you do your homework, check out the facilities and ensure you get a good deal. Then make sure you stay motivated to visit regularly.

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Perhaps a bootcamp is the kickstart you need. The one I attend – Adventure Fitness Camp - is just for women, which appeals to me. And it doesn’t involve military style orders either, just motivation that works. Find one that suits you.

Maybe a personal trainer is the answer. It’s costly but it will also mean you have no excuses. Personal trainer Mark Chapman from Whitstable says: “Personal training is a fantastic way to get the most out of every workout you do. If you hire a trainer, you are hiring someone to structure your fitness and nutritional programme to your individual goals.

“Personal training sessions are usually 60 minutes, but I have had great success with 30-minute express sessions, which have been great to fit in with restricted times and importantly, finances.

“In the Kent area, expect to pay �25-�40 depending on the experience and speciality of the trainer, and for classes, anywhere between �3 and �11.”

Mark advises looking for a trainer with qualifications, first aid, experience and testimonials.

If a personal trainer isn’t the approach for you, why not take up a sport? Whether it’s hockey, football, rugby or running, you’ll find a club to suit you, even if you are a novice. Your local council sports development team can offer advice on where to find a team.

Exercise classes are held in halls around Kent and there are so many you’ll be spoilt for choice. For something different, try Zumba for a taste of Latin American dance mixed with fitness, or boxercise.

If you don’t fancy the outdoors or exercising with others, find a solution in your own home with a fitness dvd. My tip is to choose one you’ll like, and make it part of your routine. Or make it a regular family affair with Wii Fit.

Ikeepfit is a new fitness concept from Kent-based personal trainers Nic Mays and Marc Marchant. They’ve put the likes of David Walliams, Seal and the Abramovich family through their paces, and have developed an online fitness resource that brings a virtual personal trainer to your home.

It’s an interactive website featuring diet and nutrition advice as well as workouts and with 150 exercises to choose from, you’re unlikely to get bored. It kicks off on 4 January.

Ikeepfit’s Marc says: “Following an effective exercise regime can add quality years to your life, reduce the likelihood of serious illness and disease and make you feel a whole lot better, through the release of ‘feelgood’ endorphins.”

A good diet is also vital. Be disciplined and try to stick to sensible eating; cut out the junk and control portion sizes. If you need some help, there are plenty of diet clubs and you can always kickstart with a trip to a health farm

And vibrating exercise machines such as Flabelos and Power Plate actually do build muscle tone, break down fat and toxins, help you lose weight and get health benefits.

Above all, make exercise fun!