Blow those cobwebs away! Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…
Happy Halloween everyone! This month we have a monster workout that will not only banish the shivers on those chilly nights, but will also blow those cobwebs away, to leave you feeling spooktacular.
We are going to try and get up to 13 reps on each ‘exorcise’ (see what I did there?) before going into another round and repeating around 1-5 times, depending on your fitness levels.
The Monster Crunch
These are great for strengthening and toning abdominal muscles without putting too much pressure on your back or neck. If your abs are weak, it can have a knock-on effect on other parts of your body.
To perform the exercise, lay on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor shoulder-width apart, and your fingers touching your temples. Now, engaging your core, lift your upper body a few inches from the ground, and at the same time raise your hands in the air (giving your fingers a spooky wiggle), being careful to only take your head, neck, shoulders and upper back off the floor, before returning down into your starting position and repeating.
The spider crawl is a great one as it works your shoulders, chest, upper back, arms, and the muscles of your lower body, especially your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and calves.
Start in a plank position with your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, arms extended, shoulders positioned directly over your hands, and legs behind you, feet hip-width apart. Push the toes of your left foot into the floor. Raise your right foot off the floor and rotate your leg outwards. Contract your core and glute (tum and bum) muscles, keep your back flat, and bring your right knee to the outside of the right elbow. When your knee gets close to your elbow, extend your left arm out in front of you, palm on the floor, while your right knee comes towards your right elbow.
Staying low to the ground, alternate your bent knee and hand as you crawl forward. Continue this pattern, alternating right leg with left leg.
Walking Dead Lunges
Walking lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves while improving your balance and working your core.
Start by standing with your feet roughly hip-distance apart. Check your posture before starting; your core should be engaged, shoulders back and chin up looking straight ahead.
Take a wide step forward with your right foot and plant it roughly two feet ahead, allowing your left heel to lift naturally as you step forward. You may want to put your hands on your hips, or have them facing outwards to help with your balance.
Bend both knees and lower your back knee toward the floor, stopping just before it touches down. Breathe in during the lowering phase of the exercise.
Press firmly through your right heel and extend your right knee, rising to stand as you lift your left foot from the ground, and swinging your left foot forward to plant it about two feet ahead of your right foot. Avoid leaning your torso forward from your hips as you take this step.
Continue stepping forward with each lunge, alternating sides as you do. If you find yourself losing balance as you walk, pause at the top of each lunge when your feet are next to each other.
This is an excellent exercise for strengthening your glutes and core. As well as the biggest muscles in your pelvis and hip region, your glutes control three major hip movements. These are:
• hip extension; this moves your thigh back and away from your pelvis, like walking or going up the stairs
• hip external rotation; this occurs when your leg rotates outward from the pelvis
• hip abduction; this lifts your leg away from the centre of your body, such as stepping to the side.
The bat wing involves all of these, and helps your glutes look more toned and sculpted, so it’s a great exercise for your bum. Strong glutes also improve your posture, lowers your injury risk, and reduces the chances of back and knee problems.
Start on your hands and knees, keeping your shoulders above your hands and your hips above your knees. Engage your core and look down. Lift your left leg away from your body at around 45 degrees, keeping your knee at a right angle. Lift your right hand an inch above the floor. Repeat the motion on your left leg while your right hand continues to hover. Lower your hand to complete a set. Repeat with the right leg and left hand.
This final exercise mainly targets the quads as well as the glutes and hamstrings. Start by standing upright with feet about one and a half shoulder widths apart, holding your hands in front of your body at arm’s length. Push hips back while bending at the knees into a squat. Be sure your knees are kept vertical over your feet at all times, do not let them come forward. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground and your fingers can touch the floor; inhale while doing so and then exhale as you push yourself back up to standing position.
You will know you’ve worked your hardest on these as you will be feeling as stiff as a board! So with that chill in the air, here’s a lovely dish to warm you up.
Vegan Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry
Firstly, fry the onions, garlic, chillies and ginger in a large wok or saucepan. Cover and cook over a low heat for 5-10 minutes and carry on cooking until soft. Stir in the crushed cardamom seeds, cumin, coriander and turmeric. Add the cloves, remembering to remove and discard the stalks. Cook for a further five minutes, stirring throughout.
Stir in the plain ﬂour and fine sea salt, then slowly pour the milk alternative into the pan, remembering to keep stirring. Once it is simmering, cover and allow it to continue simmering for a further five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly, before popping the mix into a blender to get it nice and smooth.
Heat up your trusty wok or saucepan again and add this saucy mix back in, until it starts to bubble. Add the coconut and carrots, cooking for around 10 minutes or until the carrots soften. Add in your vegan chicken pieces, courgette and desiccated coconut and cook for a further five minutes. At the last minute, stir in a handful of baby spinach.
Sprinkle some hand shredded coriander over the top and serve on a bed of rice.
That should all keep you nice and warm. Have a spooky and fun-filled Halloween everyone!
Ian Eassom is a Lincoln-based mobile personal trainer. Ian can offer private individual training sessions (one-to-one, couples or small groups) in your own home, garden or public space, or online, with bespoke exercise and diet plans to suit you. Don’t forget there’s a special offer for Lincolnshire Life readers! For the latest information, visit www.ianeassom.co.uk