Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy for the new year.
Happy New Year everyone! The least said about the last one the better, but let’s start as we mean to go on and make it a positive one. Nothing gets those endorphins flowing like some good old jumping for joy! Also this month we’ll be giving our livers a detox with my Beetroot Booster smoothie, and lifting those energy levels with my juicy Ginger Beer. Both these recipes are nice and simple, but packed full of goodies to help your system into the new year.
It’s a wonderfully simple recipe, but don’t be fooled! For this you will need to blend together:
One medium beetroot
Two blood oranges
Two medium carrots
Be sure to blend it nice and smoothly, and you may wish to add a splash of water to reach your preferred consistency.
Don’t worry if the idea of a beetroot drink doesn’t appeal to you; the strongest flavour here are the zesty oranges, rich in Vitamin C, with the beetroot providing not only the beautiful colour, but some immune system boosting nutrients as well. This is finished off with a healthy dose of potassium from the carrots. Together this smoothie gives you a Vitamin A and B6 boost too.
Now this is my favourite. As you know, I’m a big fan of ginger. This smoothie will give your system an instant hit of good, healthy minerals. You will need:
A chunk of fresh ginger
Juice of one lemon
Small can of ginger beer
Blend the fruit and lemon juice together until nice and smooth, then stir in the ginger beer. Go heavy on the chunk of ginger too; it is full of antioxidants that maintain a healthy pH balance, has anti-inflammatory properties and provides nutrients like potassium, calcium and magnesium to name a few.
Jump to It!
Why is jumping so good for us? Jumping increases your strength and muscle tone, building both upper and lower body strength. It burns calories, but more importantly it increases bone density, lowering the risk of osteoporosis or bone fractures.
Jumping makes you feel good, speeds up your metabolism, improves your posture and requires no equipment, so can be done anytime, anywhere.
When you jump, your body burns 800–1,000 calories an hour; by comparison, walking burns 200–300 calories, and whilst I wouldn’t want to be jumping for an hour, you can see how shorter bursts can burn just as much as longer stretches of other exercise.
Now I’m not one to go on (no really!), but we mustn’t forget the benefits to our cardiovascular system either, as jumping opens our lungs up, which supply oxygen to the working muscles keeping our hearts healthy. It also helps improve our balance, which is useful for more gentle pursuits, like yoga or other sports.
There are many ways of jumping, so I’ve picked out four of my favourites to show you. Before you attempt any kind of jumping, please make sure you have warmed up your joints and done a few stretches to avoid any injuries or strains. All of these jumps you can also do as ‘high knees’ as well, so feel free to improvise or add to them.
I love the jump rope because we can constantly challenge ourselves to learn new exercises and skills, which for me beats the monotonous nature of running on a treadmill any day of the week.
Start by giving yourself a number of jumps and a number of sets to work to, such as three sets of 10 jumps, which you can increase on a daily basis as you get better and stronger. With perseverance, it won’t be long until you’re building up to 50–100 jumps, or even working in some new moves. I like to use a weighted rope as this gives your core some engagement too. There are several different styles you can try out when you’re ready for a bigger challenge, such as the criss-cross, jacks, double-unders and single-leg jumps that will give you amazing strength and stamina.
This is fun and quick to do too. Also known as a ‘star jump’, this is performed by jumping into a star position, with your legs spread wide and hands going overhead. You can add a clap and then return to the starting position with feet together and arms by your side. For added intensity, you can hold some light dumbbells or wrist-weights, and you’ll soon start to feel the burn.
This is great for building muscle and giving you big firm thighs, as well as stripping fat away. Oh and not to mention, it’s great for your bum too. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and start by doing a regular squat downwards, then engage your core and jump explosively upwards. When you come to land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Now make sure you use your whole foot to jump and not just your toes, and try not to let your shoulders lean out beyond your knees, as this can strain your back. Try to do two or three sets of 10 reps.
For those of you with a trampoline, this is one of the easiest and most satisfying ways of jumping for fun. It’s great for your agility and balance, and allows you to experiment a bit more freely, perhaps even with a somersault or handstand, with less risk of doing yourself a mischief (do please build up to the most extravagant moves though, especially if it’s a new hobby!).
Don’t forget to enjoy the smoothie of your choice once you’ve finished bouncing around the place, to rehydrate you and give you those all important nutrient boosts to help rebuild and grow stronger.
Have a wonderful month and make that positive start to the New Year, one of change, growth and renewal. See you in February!