Lazy days of summer
Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…
Summer is finally here and hopefully we have lots of sunny weather ahead. For most of us it puts a spring in our step, but when it gets too hot, exercise can feel a bit exhausting. To help you through I have six good all over body exercises, which you can do without having to stand up or even move from your sun lounger – now there’s no excuse!
Side Plank with Twist
Lie on your right side, placing your right hand on the floor, then engaging your core, lift your hips upwards stretching your arm in a straight line at the same time. Your starting position should be a T shape, with your right foot and right hand on the floor, keeping the two straight lines, one from hand to hand, the other head to toe.
Then slowly turning your torso, twist your core to bring your raised left hand and arm underneath your body. Return to your starting T shape position and repeat as many times as you feel comfortable with (aim for 5-10), then swap sides.
This exercise works your abs, obliques and triceps.
This will work your abs (upper and lower) together with your chest and quads. Lie flat on your back, with your arms in front of you (thumbs interlocked). Brace your core and lift your arms and feet, keeping your hands together and forming a V shape with your legs. As you rise up, swing your hands through the V, then in a controlled way, release your arms and legs, and lower them back to the starting position. Repeat 5-10 times.
Around the World Abs
This is a great one for working your bum, without even getting off it! It also works your obliques, abs and arms.
Start on your hands and knees, with your shoulders directly over your wrists, and hips above your knees. Then balance on your left hand and right knee, lifting your left knee out to the side. Swing your left knee forward, keeping it level with the floor. If you can tap your knee with your free hand, you’re doing well! Then return the swing, but allow your left ankle to go further past the starting point, passing over your right leg on the floor. Again, if you can tap your heel with your free hand, gold star for you! Try to do this 5-10 times, then swap sides.
Arm Extension Shoulder Taps
This one will work your core, as well as your arms. Time to adopt my old favourite: the plank position! Just in case you’re a bit rusty, you should position your arms straight, hands directly under your shoulders, forming a straight line with your body off the ground. Then engage your core as you extend your right arm straight out in front of you and hold it for one second. Then, keeping your balance, use the right hand to tap your left shoulder. Repeat with your left arm and continue to alternate sides for the desired number of repetitions (aim for 5-10).
The opposite of the traditional crunch is great for working your lower abs.
Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides, palms on the floor. Make sure your abs are drawn in and your legs and feet are together. Raise your hips towards your chest, which can be done by either bending the knees and bringing them towards your chest, or extend your legs straight and feet pointing upwards. For added intensity, hold for 1-2 seconds before repeating.
Get in the good old plank position again, hands underneath your shoulders with elbows extended. Keep your abs engaged and back straight. Lower your chest to the floor and hold as long as you can, hovering just above the floor, as low as you can go. Try to increase the amount of time you hold for, as your form improves. This one is great for your abs and forearms.
Now that wasn’t too bad was it? Okay, I’ll move on… This month’s recipe is a fab one; tasty, healthy and vegan too.
Lazy Walnut Chia and Banana Slice
Carrying on our theme of having a chilled month, this cake is so easy and won’t take long at all. Firstly, preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease a 10-inch baking tray with a little of the dairy-free spread.
Put the milk into a bowl or jug, add the cider vinegar, and leave for a few minutes (until it looks a lumpy). Then add all the other cake ingredients into a large bowl (except the banana and walnuts) and pour the milk mixture over it. Scoop the lot into a blender or mixer (or get energetic with the wooden spoon!), and blend until smooth.
Spoon the mixture onto the tray, then bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 min or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool, then when it is safe to handle, carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice into fingers and serve.
This is a very healthy cake using honey instead of sugar, plus you have the added protein and omega 3 from the walnuts and the fibre from the chia seeds, which are full of antioxidants. For an extra treat, you can always make a little bit of water icing to squiggle over the top and add a few more chopped walnuts.
That’s all for this month, and if you’d like one final challenge, see if you can guess which hand I was holding Harvey’s treats in during our photoshoot – he doesn’t work for nothing you know! I hope you get some lovely time in the sunshine, and I’ll see you next time.
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