5 Christmas gifts for him

Present-hunting season is upon us once again and it’s time to hit the shops to ensure you find the perfect Christmas gifts for him ahead of the big day. 

Men can be notoriously difficult to buy for, so if you’re buying for a significant man in your life – whether that’s your dad, your big bro or your other half – we’ve got all the inspiration you need right here. 

Boring old socks are a no-go (though swanky thermal numbers might just make the grade), so we’re getting our thinking caps on early to ensure we find the perfect gifts this year. 

Is he an outdoors lover? A traveller? An active bod? A snappy dresser? Whatever his passion, there’s a gift out there that will make indulging in his favourite pastimes just that little bit more enjoyable this year, so check out our top 5 Christmas gifts for him! 

1. Fitbit 

If he’s a man who likes his gadgets, a Fitbit deserves a place under the tree this year. Whether he’s a keen fitness fan, likes to keep active or simply wants to be a bit heathier in the new year, there’s now a Fitbit to match his lifestyle. Think Fitbits are all step counting and no fun? Think again. The range now boasts a waterproof Fitbit Flex 2, designed to help him track his swim sessions, and the Fitbit Surge for real sports pros (heart rate monitor, GPS and multi-sport modes, as standard). Buying for your other half? Why not nab yourself one, too? There’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition at Christmas – time to get that step count up and burn off those mince pies! 

2. Aftershave 

Yes, it’s a classic, but it’s still a great gift for your partner. Encourage him to consign the barely-there leftovers of previous fragrances to the bin and indulge in a new, signature scent. Whether he’s a sporty type, likes to stick to familiar territory or considers himself a trend-setter, there’s a fantastic range of sprays, eau de toilettes and parfums on offer in silly season. Plus, the real winner here is that you get to pick said scent, so he’ll smell great – to you, at least – all Christmas long. Our top picks for this year? Yves Saint Laurent Y for men packs a sensual, yet modern, punch, while Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver offers a woody and invigorating hit. You can’t go wrong with either. 

3. Posh grooming products 

A bit of an upgrade to his grab-and-go supermarket purchases won’t do his bathroom cabinet or complexion any harm. A great gift for those who aren’t inclined to splash out (excuse the pun!) on themselves when it comes to toiletries, he’ll secretly love a super-smelly body wash, foaming shaving gel or posh face cream. And don’t be afraid to make it personal. Facial hair? A beard care kit is a winner – Johnny’s Chop Shop Beard Up kit gets our vote. Cyclist or trail runner? Muc-Off’s Dirty Work Kit is a must. Man about town? Refinery’s Shave Oil will do the trick. 

4. Toiletry bag 

Throw out the tatty striped number with the broken zip and treat dad, bro or spouse to a smart leather or cotton travel bag. Many come packed with the aforementioned posh toiletries, come Christmas time, so you can double up if you’re feeling generous. Perfect for weekend getaways or trips further afield, a smart new bag will make sure spillages are kept to a minimum and upgrade your loved one’s travel status to first class. 

5. Star Wars gifts 

If there’s a Star Wars fan in the house, give them the super-fan treatment this Christmas. It’s the perfect time to settle down with the family and spend a luxuriously lazy afternoon watching back-to-back films – so, give him the present he really wants with a full afternoon of Star Wars viewing. Then top it off with an array of themed gifts he’ll love – with everything from a Darth Vader soap on a rope to Stormtrooper gift sets on offer, this Christmas is the perfect time to indulge their inner Jedi. Head to Boots for an impressive selection that will please super-fans everywhere.

Our Royal Parks Half Marathon review

When you think of London, what do you visualise? Do you picture a bustling city, with people rushing in all directions, cars constantly honking and miserable weather? Well, if that’s the case, prepare for your perception of the capital to be completely flipped upside down, all thanks to the Royal Parks Half Marathon presented by the Royal Bank of Canada.

As someone who’s lived in London my entire life, I found it hard to imagine that this race could possible show me another side to my home city that I hadn’t seen before. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

The Royal Parks Half Marathon is known for being one of the most scenic half marathons out there, and with good reason. The beauty of the four parks, the gorgeous weather on the day and the tremendous support from the crowds made it a truly unique and special experience.

Signing up for a race doesn’t solely involve turning up on the day and going for a leisurely amble. Everyone taking part has their own personal goal, whether it’s to achieve a PB, run their first competitive race, raise money for charity or all of the above.

When I took my place at the start line, I was hit by the realisation that months of training had all led to this moment. I felt a sense of unity with all of the other runners standing alongside me as we prepared to put our minds and bodies to the test.

There’s no denying that we lucked out with the weather on the day of the race. It was a warm, sunny, pleasant autumn day – perfect conditions. The sun did feel quite hot at times, but luckily the trees in Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park and The Green Park provided a sufficient amount of shade. There were numerous water and Lucozade stalls scattered along the route to keep us hydrated and full of energy.

Best of all, the citizens of London didn’t disappoint. People turned up in their droves to show their support. Some knew people participating, while others came along just to boost morale and absorb the atmosphere. Whenever I felt a pang of self-doubt, a cheer from a stranger or a high five from an excitable kid on the side of the path helped massively.

The highlight of the Royal Parks Half Marathon for me came at the very end. As I spotted the sign for the last 200m, I suddenly felt a surge of energy. I started pumping my arms harder and lengthening my strides before breaking into a full on sprint. The spectators spurred me on as I made my way to the finish line, and I was even treated to a shout-out from the commentator. I finished on a high, and it felt absolutely amazing.

If you’re considering taking part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon next year, stop considering it and make it your mission to sign up. You won’t regret it and we can guarantee that you’ll fall in love with the greenery of London!

For more information, visit royalparkshalf.com

Pose your way to a peaceful night's sleep

SIMBA Sleep has partnered with Chroma Yoga to take us through a soporific sequence to do before bed.

Pose your way to a peaceful night’s sleep

SIMBA Sleep, the creators of the world’s most advanced mattress, has partnered with leading yoga intructor Clara Baker from Chroma Yoga to curate a yoga routine that can be easily done from the comfort of a bed, and that is guaranteed to ease us into a calming state of mind to aid sleep.

Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose

From a seated position, place the soles of the feet together and open the knees outwards. Take the hands onto the feet and open them out like a book. Inhaling, lift the chest and look up, exhaling, fold forward. Breathe slowly and stay here for 5-10 breaths.

Ardha Matsyendrasana – Simple seated twist

Bring the knees together. Place both hands on the knees and inhaling, lift the chest to sit tall. As you exhale turn to your right, wrapping your left arm around your knees and taking the right hand onto the mattress behind you for support. Stay here breathing slowly for 5-10 breaths. Repeat twisting to the left.

Apanasana – Knees to chest pose

From your seated twist come to lying on your back and hug both knees in towards your chest. As you inhale, feel the legs lift away from the abdomen slightly and as you exhale, use the arms to gently draw them in closer. Breathe slowly here for 5-10 breaths.

Train for your first triathlon with the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + 4G) on EE

When you catch the fitness bug there is always a chance it will quickly escalate and what might have started out as a gentle plan to cycle to work or run your local Parkrun every week suddenly morphs into an all-action training schedule for a marathon. Or a 100-mile bike ride. Or, in the long run, a triathlon.

First-timers swell the ranks on the start line at every mass participation triathlon nowadays, and the sport is growing at a furious pace. Sport England stats show that over 200,000 people tackled a tri in 2016 – 67% more than in 2009 – and that there are now an average of 26 events every week.

Training for a triathlon, especially when it’s your first, requires a firm plan and a very capable multi-sport tracker that can help you analyse your performance across the three disciplines. The new Apple Watch on EE is not only such a tracker, it will also keep you in touch with the rest of the world during your training thanks to its mobile connectivity with an iPhone that is on EE. The Apple Watch 3 (GPS + 4G) uses the same number as your iPhone, so both the iPhone and Apple Watch need to be on EE if you want to call, message, use apps and stream music, without having your iPhone on you. If your iPhone is on another network and you buy the latest Apple Watch, you simply won’t get access to all of the great 4G functionality.

Considering how much time you need to spend on the bike, in the pool, and pounding the pavements to prepare for a triathlon, taking calls, receiving emails and streaming an unlimited choice of music while on the go is very handy indeed.

The latest Apple Watch’s great strength when it comes to fitness tracking is the vast amount of apps available for it, and that holds especially true for triathletes, as you can pick out the perfect app for you in each of the three sports, or use the native Workout app for all three of them.

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to running and cycling, with all of the most popular fitness tracking apps – including, Nike+ Run Club and Cyclemeter – available as Apple Watch apps. The most common route into a triathlon is for a keen runner and cyclist to take up swimming, in which case they probably already have a favourite app for tracking running or cycling, so it’s great to be able to simply carry on using that app on the latest Apple Watch.

There are also impressive third-party apps available for swimming such as MySwimPro, but the recently revamped swim support through the Workout app is perfect for the first-time triathlete. When you’re in the pool the new Apple Watch counts lengths automatically and divides your workout into sets for you – so if you take a breather after 10 lengths before going for another 10, your post-swim report will break down your stats – like distance, time, pace – by set.

Most impressively of all, the Watch automatically recognises your stroke type in the water and divides your workout up accordingly. So, if you do five lengths of front crawl, then five of breast stroke and then five backstroke, you’ll get details on your performance with each stroke. You don’t need the flawless technique of Michael Phelps for the Watch to recognise the stroke either – even beginner attempts at each type will be picked up and categorised correctly.

The new Apple Watch on EE also offers open-water swim tracking, which is essential for triathletes. When it comes to race day, you’re not going to be knocking out 50 lengths at an indoor pool, you’re going to be plunging into the open water, so you need a tracker that can take that plunge with you. With open-water swims the new Apple Watch uses its in-built GPS to provide a map of your workout afterwards, as well as your stats including distance, time and stroke types.

If you also track your runs and cycles with the Workout app, you can take advantage of another new feature on the watch, which is the ability to transition between exercise types at the click of a button. Well, two buttons, but that’s still pretty quick. Swipe left from your current activity and you’ll see a ‘+’ icon, click that and it will save your activity while offering the sports menu for you to select your next workout, allowing you to switch from say, running to cycling, in rapid fashion. It’s not hard to see how useful that is for triathletes.

Of course you might want to use three different apps for running, cycling and swimming, depending on your ability in each, and the Apple Watch 3 (GPS + 4G) will let you do just that. For running you might fancy the Nike+ Run Club, which offers training plans tailored to your ability, as well as guided runs where a coach (or a famous athlete like Mo Farah) will talk you through the session from the Watch itself. If you are a new runner, you can select the distance of the run in your triathlon and Nike+ Run Club will set up a training plan for you that builds up to race day. Easy! Although you will have to do the running yourself.

You could rely on the native Apple Watch Workout app for your cycling, as it does a very good job, or you could go the third party route with something like Cyclemeter if you’re looking for more in depth analysis of your rides.

Likewise, if you’re looking for an alternative to the excellent swim tracking on the Workout app you can also get a training plan for the wettest part of your triathlon with an app like MySwimPro, which will guide you through workouts in the water and help improve your technique via videos on the partner phone app.

That’s just one possible combination of apps you can use for your triathlon training with the new Apple Watch. There are thousands more, and if you can’t be bothered to pick through them all, there is always the easiest route of using the native Workout app for everything.

So the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + 4G) is a tremendous tri tracker, and that’s before you even get to the extra benefits of its mobile connectivity available on EE. If there’s one thing all triathletes share, it’s a busy training schedule, so having a watch that can handle all your emails, calls and texts, and help manage your work and personal calendar on top of tracking your workouts is a real bonus. You can leave your phone behind and go for a run, or a ride, or jump in the pool – you really shouldn’t have your phone with you for that last one anyway – and stay connected to the world, taking calls and replying to texts and emails by dictating your response to Siri, or using a pre-loaded template response.

On top of that, the latest Apple Watch’s mobile connectivity through EE also allows you to stream music directly through the device, so you can access both your music collection and the entire Apple Music library from your wrist. When you consider the hefty workload of a triathlon training schedule it’s impossible to overestimate the value of having instant access to unlimited entertainment while you workout. It’s also a great way of making the most of your 6 months of free Apple Music that you can get with your iPhone’s EE pay monthly plan.

With a huge variety of running, cycling and swimming apps to pick between, the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + 4G) is the perfect fitness tracker and coach for a triathlete, but it’s not content to do just that. On top of tracking your activity the cellular connectivity on the Watch allows you to manage your life alongside your training schedule, as well as entertaining you through the long hours of training. It is, in short, the perfect training tool for the first-time triathlete.

EE offers the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + 4G) from just £25 per month with unlimited data, and customers require an iPhone 6, SE (or later) on a EE pay monthly or EE SIM Only plan.

www.ee.co.uk/applewatch

'My Diet Diary'

‘My diet is very dependent on what stage of training I’m in and whether I have a day in the gym or on the slopes.

I have recently started to eat less animal products so have added some vegan meals into my diet and so far I like the changes. I don’t limit myself to calories if I’m really hungry or know I have a big training day. Some days I eat more and vice versa when I’m not training and don’t need as much.

Here’s a typical day’s diet when I’m training in the gym. 

Breakfast: Hot water with lemon, two scrambled egg whites with avocado, 45g porridge oats with almond milk and a teaspoon of agave syrup.

During Workout: Nocco BCAA drink

After Morning Workout: Puori (Rice Protein) shake

Lunch: Organic green tea, sweet chili chicken breast with wok vegetables and a baked sweet potato, a spoonful of mayonnaise

After Workout 2: Barebells Caramel cashew protein bar

Dinner: Mixed bean and lentil soup, small mixed salad (greens, beetroot, corn), vegan ‘meat’ balls and a peppermint tea.

Snacks: Two rice cakes with hummus, two squares of Lindt caramel and sea salt dark chocolate.

Supplements: I take Puori Magnesium (around 30 mins before bed), Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Puori Synbiotics (probiotics with Vitamin C)

Drinks: Three litres of water

Pam is an Ellis Brigham ambassador. Snowfest 2017 is a week-long in-store celebration of all things ski and snowboard, hosted by Ellis Brigham. It kicks off with a launch party at the flagship Covent Garden store on Tuesday October 24, from 5pm till 10pm. Entry is free for guests to enjoy music and Alpine inspired food. For more information and to register interest visit www.ellis-brigham.com/snowfest

River Ness 10K – WF's race report

Our Art Director Nicola took to the Highlands to see if she could spot Nessie on race day!

Having signed up to do the Loch Ness marathon earlier in the year, I was excited about the prospect of running through the beautiful views of Loch Ness. However, unfortunately during my training I acquired an injury – plantar fasciitis – and was advised by my physio not to run at all. You can imagine how gutted I was.

Fortunately, my physio agreed that I would be able to manage a 10K, so although I was extremely disappointed, I signed up to the River Ness 10K instead and focused on my rehab and race prep.

On the road 

Traveling up to Inverness was super easy with convenient flights from London. On arrival I was met by the stunning, rolling hills of Scotland. After carb-loading at a friendly pizza restaurant (essential carb-loading, obvs), I headed back to the hotel for an early night.

Race day 

Following a hearty Scottish breakfast I headed to the start line, which was a 10-minute shuttle bus ride away. The weather was perfect running conditions – mild and grey. I met various other runners, all excited about the race.

Once we were off there was an initial gradient to a roundabout and then a sweet downhill, which went along the River Ness among the woodland. It was magical. The downhill lasted till around the 7K mark as we began to head into Inverness.

The locals were out in support with plenty of welcomed cheer. The atmosphere was great, with runners pushing on to complete their PB or raising money for charity.

Once in Inverness the course went over the bridge and then to the finish line. The crowd became stronger with their encouragement as the finish got nearer. I gave it everything I had on the day and finished with a respectable 55.22.

This is a fun and picturesque 10K and I will undoubtedly be back to spot Nessy and do the marathon! Now where’s my training plan?!

For the Loch Ness Marathon and River Ness 10K 2018 entries, visit lochnessmarathon.com

Make Your Mornings Better (With Help From Us)

We’re here to sort out your morning – sign up now, then thank us later!

Win the chance to join Team Triaction 2

We’re just like you – we want our kit to work as hard as us, while making a serious style statement.

When it comes to sports bras, we’re after a perfect fit, great support for our cup size and on-trend styles and colour ways. 

It might be underwear but it’s key to a good workout. Making sure your assets are well-supported before you embark on any workout is vital – whatever your size.

Don’t just take our word for it – the whole Triaction range is even bounce-control certified by the world-renowned research group in breast health at the University of Portsmouth.

Stand together – Team Triaction

As an active woman you’re part of a tribe. Whether you stretch or spin, run or dance every week you join millions of other women across Europe who are as passionate about being fit and active as you are.

This summer Triumph created Team Triaction – a group of five inspiring women across Europe who are passionate about being active and motivating others. 

Fitness instructor, author and Instagram star Alice Liveing headed up Team Triaction for the UK and shared her personal journey into health and fitness with us. While globally, Team Triaction is led by an online sensation, Anna Victoria, international fitness blogger and founder of the ‘Fit Body Guide’. Earlier this year we saw the team take on new sporting challenges and show us their best moves in our bounce control tested sports bras.

Your chance to win

To celebrate the success of Team Triaction, Triumph is now in search of women across Europe of all shapes, ages and backgrounds to join them and get involved as part of Team Triaction 2. 

To be in with a chance to join us, all you have to do is upload a photo of yourself to Instagram working out in your favourite way using #TeamTraction2.

If chosen, you’ll win an expert fitting, a range of Triaction sports bras and your own PT session, together with the opportunity to meet Anna Victoria. 

Enter now!

Go to Instagram and upload with the hashtag #TeamTriaction2

Entries end on 14 September 2017.

No compromise

If you work out as much as we do, you’ll be in need of a new bra (or two!) this autumn. Triumph’s new AW17 collection has you covered. 

Brand new this season and featuring the vibrant city camouflage print is the Dynamic Lite Bra and the Boost Lite push-up bra. The new Magic Motion Bra with the soft-touch Magic Wire™ Air innovation is available in the seasonal peacock blue colour.

The Boost Lite push-up sports bra enhances women’s natural curves with lightly padded, breathable spacer cups. Available in classic black and a vibrant print, this stylish sports bra features versatile adjustable straps, exceptional support, moisture control, extreme lightness and outstanding comfort – the perfect choice for high intensity activities:

Magic Motion push-up bra gives the bust extra lift whilst offering 65% certified bounce control; designed to enhance and support women’s natural curves as they work out in style. As with all Magic Motion bras, this features the Magic Wire innovation for extra comfort. Smart fabric ensures optimum dryness and perforated cups make it breathable, the ideal choice for all body shapes and sizes.

Enter now!

Go to Instagram and upload with the hashtag #TeamTriaction2

Entries end on 14 September 2017.

WIN: A Muay Thai training holiday!

Want to up your fitness and boost your boxing skills? What better way to do it than to travel to the very heart of where the ancient martial art of Muay Thai began for an intense seven-day training holiday! Whether you’re a complete beginner or want to hone your skills, the trainers at Tiger Muay Thai will make sure you reach your goals. Located in the Chalong Area of Phuket, Thailand, Tiger Muay Thai is the biggest and most highly-regarded Muay Thai fitness training camp in the world. Think outdoor boxing rings and gyms, hugely experienced trainers and authentic Muay Thai ceremonies all topped off with a backdrop of the beautiful Phuket coastline. Tiger Muay Thai caters for people from all walks of life, including complete beginners and even children.

THE PRIZE

Don’t go running off to book your tickets just yet, though! We’ve partnered with Muay Thai Holidays to offer one lucky H&F reader an all-inclusive package holiday at Tiger Muay Thai. You’ll get return flights from London to Phuket with Thai Airways, airport transfers, seven nights’ accommodation in a single bungalow, fresh and delicious meals prepped and cooked at the Tiger Grill daily, a Muay Thai training vest and hoodie, plus extensive training in three different levels of Muay Thai, mixed martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, yoga, CrossFit and many more disciplines. This holiday will be sure to push you to your limits!

Click here for more details and to enter!

Closing date: October 31, 2017.

FULL TERMS & CONDITIONS 

Departure dates between January 1 and June 30, 2018. Subject to availability.

On completing and submitting this competition, you will automatically be entered into a draw for one of these prizes. No correspondence will be entered into and the winners will be notified by post or email within 28 days of the closing date. The competition is not open to employees of Dennis Publishing or participating companies. No cash alternative will be offered. The prize (s) described are available at the date of publication. Events may occur that render the promotion or the awarding of the prize impossible due to reasons beyond Dennis Publishing’s (publisher of the relevant magazine) control, which may at its discretion vary or amend the promotion and the reader agrees that no liability shall be attached to Dennis Publishing as a result thereof. Proof of emailing will not be accepted as proof of delivery and no responsibility can be accepted for entries lost, delayed, mislaid or for any technical failure or for any event which may cause the competition to be disrupted or corrupted. In order to determine an outright winner or winners to a competition, the Editor reserves the right to request entrants to take part in an eliminating contest (or ‘tie breaker’). Where for any reason there are more winners than prizes on offer, the Editor reserves the right to conduct a simple draw to determine the winner or winners of the prizes. Unless otherwise stated, entry to all competitions is restricted to entrants of 18 years of age or over. Names of winners will be available on receipt of a request enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope to: Competitions Manager, Dennis Publishing, 30 Cleveland St, London W1T 4JD. If the winner of a competition is unable to take up a prize for any reason, the Editor reserves the right to award it to an alternative winner, in which case the first winner chosen will not be eligible for any share of the prize whatsoever. The Editor’s decision is final and it is a condition of entry to any competition that the entrant agrees to be bound by these rules whether they be published or not, and that the decisions of the Editor and judges on any matter whatsoever arising out of or connected with the competition are final. No purchase of the magazine is necessary and no more than one entry per household. Competitions open to UK residents only, unless otherwise stated.

Upgrade your lunch break workout

 

Making it to the end of the working day is so much harder if you don’t take a break. A study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports shows that even a 30-minute lunchtime stroll can significantly boost a person’s ability to handle stress at work. But why not ramp up the intensity of your workout and amplify results? ‘It sounds obvious, but don’t use the time to just go through the motions,’ says Georgia Gray, Fitness First personal trainer. ‘Be focused. Get the most out of every rep. Don’t text during your rest periods. Basically, just work hard.’ Heading to the gym this lunch hour? Follow these smart strategies to get more from your session.

GET WITH THE PROGRAMME

Guilty of wandering around the gym aimlessly? What you need is a game plan for workout success. ‘Know exactly what you’re going to the gym to do,’ advises Gray. ‘Not only will you be more motivated to beat your weight or rep targets, but you’ll also save the time you’d normally spend thinking about what bit of kit to use next.’ If you’re not sure what sort of plan you should be following, speak to one of the gym instructors and ask if you can book a gym induction, during which they should provide you with an exercise plan. Get in there and just do it. Got it?

WORKOUT WITH LESS

Modern gyms may be fitness-lovers’ playgrounds – with battle ropes, tyres, sleds and plenty of exciting new-fangled kit – but it’s important not to simply ‘play around’ with the latest equipment. In fact, New Balance ambassador Shona Vertue thinks it’s best to use as little equipment as possible. ‘There’s nothing worse than getting to a packed gym only to spend half your time waiting for kit. Standing in line won’t burn calories! If you’re using the gym at a peak time, such as during the lunch hour, find an empty corner, grab a kettlebell or resistance band and do a circuit. That way, you’ll spend your lunch hour working out rather than waiting it out,’ she says.

MAXIMISE ON MOVES

When time is short, compound exercises that work multiple muscles at once are the key to strength rewards. ‘Revolve your session around big, compound moves such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, chest presses, bent-over rows, chin-ups and dips,’ says Gray. ‘These moves require oodles of energy and are great for fat loss. A lot of my clients love the adductor (inner-thigh) machine, but a squat will work the adductors, rest of the lower body, core and lower back.’ In short, these moves offer more bang for your exercise buck.

GIVE IT A REST

Sure, rest periods are important. They give your body a chance to restore, recover and replenish, meaning you can hit the next set just as hard as the last one. But, by cleverly selecting exercises that work different muscle groups, you can skimp on rest, give worked muscles a chance to recoup and keep up the intensity. ‘Switch between upper- and lower-body movements,’ says Vertue. ‘For example, perform 10 squats, then immediately [without rest] do 10 push-ups. By going from a lower- to an upper-body exercise, your body is quickly shunting blood from the legs (from the squat) to the arms (for the push-up). This takes quite a bit of energy and will burn lots of calories.’

CURB THE CARDIO

Love spending the entire hour on the treadmill? Bad news – unless you’re training for an endurance event, spending that long on a cardio machine isn’t the best use of your time. What you need to do is to up the intensity and decrease the time of your aerobic session to supercharge cardiovascular results. ‘There are lots of ways to increase the intensity of your workout,’ says Allyn Condon, personal trainer at The Gym Bristol. ‘You could vary the sets [try doing hill intervals, for example] or increase the speed of your movements to improve your overall performance and get more from your workout.’ Do this and you’ll free up time to spend using the other kit as well.

DROP IT LOW

If you’re still plugging through the 3 x 12 reps session that the gym instructor gave you a year ago, it’s time to mix up your weights workout. ‘Your body needs progressive overload to make progress,’ says Gray. And this means taxing your muscles more this week than you did last week. ‘If you’re coming in and going through the motions, you’ll struggle to see results. Try doing dropsets, which involves completing an exercise at a certain weight before dropping the weight slightly and performing the same exercise. This is a great way to push the body to failure [when it can’t physically do that move anymore, which leads to strength gains].’

TRACK YOUR TIME

If you’re motivated by competition, one of the most effective ways to gain strength and improve your fitness results is to compete with yourself by tracking your workouts. ‘When you’re not sticking to a plan, you really will struggle to see results,’ warns Gray. ‘To get the most out of any workout – whether it’s long or short – you need to be recording what you’re doing and aiming to improve on that [by running a bit faster, lifting more weight or clocking more reps, for example] week-on-week.’ Yes, it’s time to invest in that workout diary you’ve been promising yourself.