Roll in the New Year
Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…
Happy New Year everyone!
This month, I’m going to start you off with some great core exercises using a gym ball.
The gym ball is so versatile and can be used by anyone, whatever their level. It’s a great way to help improve and develop your squat technique, simply by placing the ball between you and a wall, so it supports your back and helps to increase your range of movement.
Even just sitting on the ball is great for learning and developing basic coordination and balance, as well as helping with posture. Using one whilst doing a dumbbell shoulder workout will help stop slouching or swinging your body too much.
I know of an office worker who sits on a gym ball all day whilst sat at their desk and has amazing posture.
For those wanting a more advanced challenge, the ball can be used for adding levels of instability to your exercises, to increase the challenge of your workout, making your stabiliser muscles work harder. Doing this regularly will improve your functional strength and reduce the risk of back and spine injuries.
Now I’ve hopefully convinced you, here are six variations to start you off:
Place your elbows on the ball and rest your weight on them, feet firmly on the floor. Hold your body in a straight line, keeping your bum tucked and without letting your hips drop. Keep holding this pose for anywhere from 10 seconds up to a minute.
Lying face up on the floor, hold the ball between your calves and the back of your legs, curling your hips up off the floor and bringing your knees towards your chest. Hold for a second or three, then slowly lower back to the start, repeating as many times as you can.
Crawl-Out with Press-Up
Start by leaning over the ball face down, then proceed to walk on your hands letting the ball roll down your body towards your feet. The intensity of your press-up will depend on how far your core is from the ball, so once the ball is at a comfortably low point of your legs (without it putting pressure on the top of your feet) perform a single press-up.
Then reverse walk on your hands to starting position, before repeating as many times and sets you feel able to do.
There is also the option of doing a crawl-out with a set of 10 press-ups each time for a much more challenging set.
Hold your body in a straight line, with your hands on the floor and feet on the ball. Draw your knees towards your chest before returning to the starting position, keeping your core tight.
Lay with your side on the ball and feet on the floor (if you’re not wearing trainers, rest your feet against the wall to prevent them slipping). Lift your torso up sideways then pause at the top before slowly lowering back down. Perform as many controlled reps as you can before turning over and repeating on your other side. This is a subtle movement, but you’ll feel it down your sides.
Lying on your back, hold the ball between your feet, whilst keeping your arms and legs straight. Lift your legs and arms together, passing the ball from your feet to your hands, then lowering your arms and legs before passing back and repeating. Again, you can do as many reps as you like and to make it harder keep your feet off the floor the whole time; you can even add some pulsing shallow leg raises in at the end.
There are loads of variations you can do with your gym ball; I sometimes do a full hour’s client session using just the ball and a set of dumbbells for a killer workout. It’s so versatile and a really useful addition to your growing home gym!
Now I don’t know about you, but with all the rich Christmas food a lot of us will have indulged in, I thought we’d better go…
Green, Clean & Lean
…with my healthy Garlic-roasted Green Protein Medley. This is such a simple dish and so full of goodness.
Preheat the oven to 200°C and spray a baking sheet or tray with a non-stick cooking oil. Arrange the leeks, broccoli, green beans, courgettes, sliced avocados, asparagus and Edamame beans on the baking sheet.
In a jug add olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic, fresh or dried chillies, along with salt and pepper to suit your tastes. Mix together, then drizzle or brush the greens well until all of the vegetables are evenly and completely covered in the dressing.
Spread the vegetables out evenly on the baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Gently turn the vegetables to ensure even cooking (flipping any that are crisping or browning), and return to the oven, rotating the pan if necessary to cook evenly. Continue to roast for an additional 15 minutes until crisp. Serve immediately.
Not only is this dish light and tasty, a lot of greens contain ‘Lutein’ which is great for eye health, and also a great antioxidant that helps to fight free-radicals and increases our skin’s natural protection from UV sun damage. Yes, I know it’s only January, but at least you will be prepared!
Going green is also going to benefit us by lowering our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, as well as helping to burn belly fat. Oh and don’t forget, clear glowing skin.
This dish can be served on its own, or for an extra protein hit I’ve added sautéed salmon fillets with a little seasoning.
That’s all for now folks. I hope 2022 brings you everything you hope for, and with any luck a positive step forward in getting back to normal.
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 www.ianeassom.co.uk