Heart times and the good
Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…
Valentine’s Day is upon us, a time of love, and I’m sure St Valentine would approve of looking after our hearts, so we can carry on loving. Keeping our hearts healthy is so important to our overall wellbeing, which is why this month we have a workout specifically for them, together with my heart-warming dessert, that’s full of cholesterol lowering red berries, which will improve your arterial function, helping to prevent or lower high blood pressure and protect against strokes.
My ‘HEART’ workout can be done at any level, choosing your own speed, number of repetitions and sets. I suggest three sets of 8-12 reps will get the heart pumping, and if that’s not enough for you, then increase accordingly (but sensibly).
The HEART Rate Workout
H High jump
E Explosive push-up
A Abdominal crunch
R Reverse lunge
T Tricep dip
Start in a standing position with your feet at shoulder width. Then lower down into a 3/4 squat position with your arms at your sides. Pause here for a second before jumping directly upwards, throwing your arms up above your head.
This is a great one for building your upper body strength too, working your shoulders, chest and arms, as well as your lower back and core. Starting in a plank position with your hands on the floor, arms straight, butt clenched and abs (stomach) braced, lowering yourself towards the floor before powering back up, repeating until you’ve completed your reps.
The most popular ab exercise performed correctly will give you great results. Start by lying face up, legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Reach your arms up towards the ceiling, then before you start the movement, engage your core by drawing your tummy, bum and waist down towards your spine. Slowly tense your upper abdominals to lift your head, shoulders and upper back off the floor. Keep your lower back on the floor trying not to arch it.
This great move works your entire body and especially leg muscles such as your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, not to mention your core. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, step back into a reverse lunge, with your front foot staying flat under your bent front knee and your back foot supported by your toes. Return your rear foot to the normal lunge position and repeat.
Sit on a chair or something sturdy (like a box) and put your hands beside you (on the edge you are sitting on), roughly shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forward. Then, slide your body forward, away from the edge. Steady yourself, using your arms for support. Dip down, bending your arms, touching your bottom to the ground, then raise yourself back up again. It’s sort of like a seated push-up and very good for your triceps.
Once you’ve done all of that, you’ve definitely earned a treat! Time for my delicious Valentine’s Day pancakes, for a fluffy pink and fruity burst of goodness. My recipe is vegan, dairy free and sweetened with honey.
Valentine’s Day Pancakes
Blend all the ingredients (apart from the fruit selection) until you have a smooth, pink batter, then let it rest for five minutes for the air to escape. Pour about half a cup (65 grams) of batter into a non-stick pan or griddle over a medium heat. When the top begins to bubble, flip the pancake and cook until golden and pink! Serve warm with the berries and drizzled honey. Fat-free crème fraîche will go very nicely on the top for non-vegans.
I hope you have a lovely February and I’m already excited that the next article will be March; in other words, spring!
Ian Eassom is a Lincoln-based mobile personal trainer. Ian can offer private online one-to-one sessions, with bespoke exercise and diet plans to suit you. Ian can also offer individual training sessions in your own garden or public space, subject to and in adherence with the latest Covid guidance. Don’t forget there’s a special offer for Lincolnshire Life readers! For the latest information, visit