Danish freelance journalist and fitness professional Tania Presutti, who now resides in Clonakilty, delivers a series of efficient DIY fitness exercises you can do at home.
A New Year – 365 new chances. A Facebook friend put that on her status as a New Year greeting. I decided to borrow it for my column because the saying made it so obviously clear that each day is a new chance for us to get it right – and no, we don’t need it to be the New Year to start afresh. Every day is a new start.
However New Year is, per definition, the time of year where many of us vow to make our lives better, improve and better ourselves. Have you made any for yourself this year? I have. But before I tell you mine, let me just take a guess… Your resolution involves your health? Either ‘get in shape’, lose weight, quit smoking, cut down on drinking, or all of the above? Before the end of this column, I’ll give you some tips to achieve your goal, but first let me tell you mine.
As a fitness professional, I’ve always loved helping people lead a more active life – accomplish a new skill, hit a number (on the scale or on exercises) or reach a milestone, but I’ve decided that this year, I will educate myself further, to be better equipped to help others.
I received an email during the Christmas Holidays from an old Thaiboxing student. She used to be a regular in my Cork class, but she dropped out shortly before we moved to England, and I’ve only been Facebook friends with her since. The mail she sent me was short and sweet. It said she missed the classes, she missed my teaching and most importantly for me, she missed the way I made her believe in herself. She’s on a mission to lose weight, and she was struggling to find the motivation and confidence to continue on her journey. I wrote her back, and I hope, was able to support and strengthen her resolve and it made me reflect on my role as a coach, as a trainer. That, even years after meeting someone, you still are ‘the coach’. It warmed my heart, but also filled me with a new sense of responsibility. I want to be a better coach and trainer for her, for future clients and for myself!
Back to your New Year Resolutions, did I get it right earlier? Are you looking to improve your health? Shrink a pants size, lose the cigarettes, build abs or ‘tone up’? A short answer to all of it is: EXERCISE.
Exercise is without a doubt, one of the best things you can do for yourself, whether you want to be fitter, lose weight, cut drinking or smoking. But it is not the whole answer. The whole answer is that if weightloss is your goal, your money might be better spent with a nutritionist than the gym, and quitting smoking is not only helped by strong willpower, but also by having a plan of action that is tailor-made for YOU. This coming year, I will hopefully be able to expand my fitness column with tips to all of this, but for now, I’ll let you in on my own little ‘Do It Yourself’ fitness trick.
When time is short and there’s a lot to do, training sessions tend to be pushed down the priority list because they are time consuming, even if you train at home. However, you don’t need a full hour or even half an hour to get things done. My shortest sessions are only 15 minutes and they work my heart and body as much as an hour session with weights in the gym.
15-minute home workout
You need a deck of cards and a timer. Choose four different drills, each to match a colour
and a suit. For example Spades are push-ups, Hearts are sit-ups, Clubs are jumping jacks and Diamonds are squats. (If you find them too easy or too hard, feel free to replace them with something more suited to you).
Now shuffle the cards, and draw one at the time. Each card has a number (Jacks =11, Queens=12, Kings=13 and Aces=14), do the exercise matching the suit, for the number the cards tell you.
Remember to get the best benefits from this; Go from one exercise to the next for the whole duration. No time for water or break in these 15 minutes. The best part is that you can play this game with others. Simply take turns drawing a card. Perform the exercise (eg 4 Hearts = 4 Sit ups).
As you get good at this game, you can replace the exercises or add an extra five minutes if you have got the time. I suggest doing this every other day, or alternate with going for walk, swim, bikerides or gym visits on the days you’re too bored with this. Just remember consistency is the key to change and every day is a new chance to do so, so grab yours!
If you have any questions to the 15-minute home workout, or other fitness-related ones, you are welcome to mail me. All mails will be handled confidentially, but if your question can help others, I may ask if it’s ok to be published (anonymously) along with the answer. You can contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.