Tips to shed the extra Christmas pounds

Single Leg Foward Cross

Single Leg Foward Cross - Credit: Archant

This month, our resident health and beauty writer Laura Lewis attempts to shed the Christmas pounds with the help of personal trainer and weight loss expert, Gen Levrant

A month of festive parties, buffets, meals and boozy drinks means that most of us shy away from the scales in January. Suddenly nothing fits, and you’re out of breath at the top of the stairs. Time to tone up!

Introducing cardio like high intensity walking, or running to your every day life will help shed the pounds, but in an effort to tone up as well, try these muscle-busting exercises, by expert Gen Levrant, at home. By spring you could be rocking a six-pack, and the bingo-wings will be a distant memory!

Gen assures me that the best way to tone up this season is by doing as many repetitions as possible for the duration of one minute (or 30 seconds if it involves switching legs). With time, naturally you will increase your ability to do more and it won’t be long before you see the results.


The bottom booster

Single-leg curtseys

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This exercise is perfect for achieving strong, shapely legs and pert bottoms, as it works the glutes, which are the muscles in your bottom and quadriceps which are the long muscles at the front of the leg.

What to do:

1: Stand on one foot, toe slightly turned in.

2: Reach down to touch it, bending your knee and pointing your other foot behind you as far as you can, keeping it off the floor.

3: Feel the butt cheek tighten as you come back to the start position!

4: Repeat for 30 secs then switch feet.


The leg shaper

3-way squat

This exercise works quads, hamstrings, glutes, adductors (inner thighs) and abductors (hips). Adding repetitions of this great exercise will tone up thighs and calves for shapely legs and because it is a three-in-one exercise it will save you time, rather than doing three separate exercises.

What to do:

1: Stand with your feet hip width apart.

2: Brace your stomach muscles, reaching your hands out in front of you as you lower your bottom, until it is level with your bent knees.

3: Push your heals down and feel your buttocks tighten, as you straighten up to the start position.

4: Repeat with your feet together to work your hips.

5: Repeat with your feet as wide as you can to work your inner thighs.


The waist clincher

Frog mountain-climbers

Toning the tummy area is a tough job, because any abdominal work you do is only visibly obvious once you’ve shifted excess pounds. However, it’s still worth building up to a good set of repetitions for strong abdominals and obliques, which are the muscles at the side of your abdomen. Working these muscles gives you a tighter waist too.

What to do:

1: Start prone, in the same position as the press up.

2: Keeping your bottom down, bend your right knee and bring it towards the outside of your right arm.

3: Quickly jump it back, as you bring your left foot towards your left arm.

4: Feel your waist tightening as you keep swapping feet as fast as you can!


The bingo wing banisher

3 way press ups

Not only does this fab exercise work the Tricep muscles in your arms, but it gives the chest muscles a work-out too, which means that it can work as a mini bust-lift! Not only that, but your abdominals work hard as well! This is a great exercise to tone up the whole arm area and help to reduce the ‘bingo-wing’ look.

What to do:

1: Start in a prone position: arms straight, hands under your shoulders, hips lifted and bottom down.

2: Inhale as you bend your elbows, squeezing your stomach as you lower your body to the floor.

3: Exhale straightening your arms, pushing yourself back to the start position. Repeat with hands positioned wide, then narrow.

4: Another variation is to raise one hand off the floor opening up into a chest fly, between repetitions.

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