Want to slim-down before the school run and workout before work? Here’s 12 ways to bust the bulge by breakfast…
No, it’s not a dream: getting a good night’s sleep could mean you wake up slimmer. Research shows sleep deprivation increases hunger pangs, particularly for junk food, which can lead to weight gain. But forget the long lie in – late risers have also been shown to consume more calories over the course of a day. Experts agree the ‘slumber number’ for optimal health is 7.7 hours.
Start the day as you mean to go on with a bedroom-based burnout. “Turn your waking stretch into some wide arm circles – perfect if you’re at a desk all day, or carrying a baby,” says TV fitness expert Laura Williams. “And try standing squats on the bed (the instability of the mattress will make muscles work harder), or some bed crunches and shoulder bridges.”
It might be difficult to feel sexy with kids around but fit in some nooky before rush hour and it can be as good as a gym workout. The rush of cuddle hormone oxytocin, which is released during bonding, helps reduce abdominal fat stores and suppresses appetite during the day.
“Protein is an ideal weight loss aid, with studies showing those who eat a high-protein breakfast may consume 135 fewer calories,” says nutritionist Sarah West. “The body uses more calories to metabolize protein, compared to fat or carbs, plus it activates the signals that curb appetite.”
Some research suggests that if you skip breakfast altogether you can make your morning cardio session work harder. “Working out on an empty stomach or completing “fasted cardio” is a great way to burn fat,” says North London fitness coach Paul Ellis, from ellisstockwell.co.uk. “You will have a greater ability to target the stubborn fat stores on your body.”
It might seem like a good wake up call, but a morning coffee can increase fat stores. “A cup of coffee is not a breakfast,” says nutritional therapist Angelique Panagos. “It might make you feel full for a moment but you’ll soon be reaching for the cookies. Plus regular caffeine increases the stress hormone cortisol – so stick to one good quality cup a day.”
Just 20 minutes of exposure to early morning light can lower body mass index, according to research, so borrow the kids skipping rope for a mood-boosting session on the patio, or turn a chore like hanging up the washing into a workout with lunges, squats and forward bends.
Eat your morning meal more mindfully and you’ll chew slower, digest better, and eat less overall as your brain registers it’s full. “Be mindful of all the subtle intricacies that make up the breakfast experience,” says meditation teacher Emma Mills, author of Inhale, Exhale, Repeat.
Craving that extra slice of toast? Research shows if you sidetrack yourself while a craving is calling, it takes just 10 minutes for it to go away. Games are said to be the best deflection technique because they reward the brain in the same way as food – a great way to entertain the kids and lose weight at the same time!
If you want to lose fat fast but don’t have time for the gym, sneak in a HITT session just before you shower. Try this 12-minute HITT workout from PT Paul Ellis, working on each exercise for 40 seconds, resting for 15 seconds, and repeating three times: star jumps, planks, back lunges, burpees with a jump and slow squats. It’s a great way to get your heart pumping!
If you’re off to work in a suit or uniform, it may be time to go casual. According to a University of Wisconsin study, people who wore denim to work walked a quarter of a mile more in the day than people wearing formal gear.
Who needs a treadmill when you can torch up to 220 calories on your staircase? Try PT Anna Reich’s 15-minute hallway drill