Get fit in 12 weeks: Week six

1. Sort out your CV

Breaking the mould

This week, combine all the training so far. Do one day of light continuous cardio for 30 minutes minimum; the next day do the intervals from last week (four minutes going steady, then two minutes all guns blazing) for 36 minutes; day three, no cardio but do the toning circuit; day four, rest, then repeat the sequence. This adds up to six exercise sessions a week.

And try something new. In cross-training, two or more types of exercise are performed in one workout or used alternately in successive workouts. A distance runner in training, for example, may also lift weights twice a week, perform daily stretching exercises, and do high-intensity bicycle sprints every Tuesday. For one week, why not try:

Indoor or dry-slope skiing or snowboarding
Great fun and can burns hundreds of calories. Find your nearest slope:

Indoor climbing
Most UK cities have at least one climbing wall, catering for all ages and abilities. Climbing uses every single muscle in the body, giving a great work out, as well as an adrenaline rush.

Skipping ropes are cheap and lightweight, and can be used pretty much anywhere. Fifteen minutes skipping burns at least 100kcal. Start in bursts of two to three minutes with a minute’s rest in between. Try five lots of two minutes with a minute’s rest between.

Alternative activities
Walking, stair climbing, hill- walking, skipping, racket sports and any exercise class will keep you fit and burn calories.

2. Tone it

The bridge

Stimulates the glutes, tightens up the backs of the legs and strengths the pelvic floor.

Circuit: Do 1 plank for 20-60secs, 1 side plank for 20-60secs on each side, 1×20 squats, 1×12-15 press-ups, 1×20 bridge 1×12-15 lunges on each leg. Repeat this sequence three times so you have done three sets of each exercise.

A The bridge (easy)

i) Lie on your back with legs bent and heels in contact with the ground. Rest your arms by your side, palm downwards. Take a deep breath.

ii) Exhale slowly, lifting your hips off the floor, squeezing your glutes until there’s a straight line between shoulders, hips and knees. Don’t force hips up further as it causes the back muscles to overwork.

iii) Hold at the top of the movement for a second, squeezing the glutes tight, then lower the pelvis back towards the floor, inhaling on the way, not letting your backside touch the ground, the repeat.

iv) Do three sets of 20 repetitions.

B Leg bridge (hard)

i) Do the same as above but in the start position, cross one leg over the other.

ii) Squeeze up, making sure you keep your hips level, as one side will usually want to dip. Keeping the hips level makes this a harder exercise.

iii) Do three sets of 20 on each leg if possible.

3. In seven days’ time …

Even though this is not a weight-loss-oriented course, your clothes should feel looser by now. If you have been logging your resting heart rate and stuck to all the CV, you should have seen a drop by anything up to 10bpm. Your attitude to exercise may have changed; it should be part of your daily routine. Hopefully you have made changes to your diet, too, leaving your energy levels boosted so that you feel better than ever. Here are a couple of extra tips to keep you on the right track:

Never miss a Monday workout

Get your first workout of the week done and you are set up for a successful week. Miss it, and you will feel as though you are playing catch up the rest of the time. Make a timetable and stick to it. Thirty mins out of 24 hours is nothing.

Skip the juice

While juices are a useful way to increase your vitamin and mineral intake, there is a drawback. Most contain virtually no fibre and are calorie dense – fresh orange contains approximately 100kcal per pint, whereas water has none. Instead, eat a piece of fruit. It has exactly the same nutritional benefits but fewer calories and a lot more fibre. If you do have juice, make it freshly squeezed where possible -no additives, colourings or sweeteners.

· Matthew Robinson is a qualified personal trainer.

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