Lost weight by exercising more during lockdown? Keep the weight off. Here’s how to stay lean and toned after losing weight and getting your dream figure…

When gyms, schools and shops re-open and life gets back to some semblance of normality, you may find you have less time to exercise. Yet you’ve trained at home and lost weight, and you want to keep those pounds off. Here’s some useful tips…

1. Try a new exercise class

The truth is that we all work harder when we’re under scrutiny. Hiring a personal trainer who will push you harder is one option, but if your budget can’t extend to one-to-one sessions then take up an exercise class you’ve never tried before. Not only will this shock the body and create a stimulus that forces the body to work hard and adapt, it will also keep you motivated. Good exercise classes for weight-loss include BodyAttack (a high-intensity interval training class), GRIT (a mixture of CV and strength training), Spin (group cycling classes) and circuit training classes.

2. Box clever

Another option is to take up Boxercise or one-to-one boxing sessions where you hit pads. This is a great new skill to learn but it will offer so many fitness benefits – improving posture, balance, core strength and agility – but because it’s so fast and explosive it’s highly demanding. This means your heart rate will increase and you’ll work up a really good sweat. Ideal for anyone who is used to steady-state cardio. It’ll really shake things up for you!

3. Take up yoga

It may not sound like an obvious choice for weight loss, as many people take up yoga to become more flexible and reduce stiffness, but the right types of yoga can burn fat. The more strenuous types that burn a decent number of calories include Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Power yoga, all of which are more energetic. In Vinyasa yoga, you move through the poses quickly, which means you don’t have time to recover in between each pose and your heart rate will rise, leading to a higher fat burn. It’s a non-stop 90-minute class. Any yoga class that is fairly swift in terms of performing the poses and uses your body weight for resistance will work you hard.

4. Set a new challenge

You had a goal to lose weight 12 weeks ago. Now you need to follow it up with a secondary goal, otherwise it will be all too easy to slip back into old habits. Setting yourself a target to achieve a fitness goal in three months’ time is a great idea. Maybe you want to run 10K, take part in a triathlon or do an obstacle race? Whatever you choose, it’s about having something to train for and a strong reason to maintain your fitness levels and stay in shape.

5. Up the intensity

When you are exercising, try to limit rest periods and keep moving. This will mean you get the most out of the session. Cut rest periods between resistance exercises in half or try doing two or three exercises that work different muscle groups back to back.

6. Train with someone slightly fitter than you

Not everyone is competitive, but training with someone else will make you want to push yourself harder, as you won’t want to look unfit in front of your friend. You could even sign up for an event like a 10K run together and inspire each other to keep training.

7. Hire a personal trainer

It’s not affordable for everyone but these days, there are a variety of options for training with a personal trainer that can be cost-effective. You may choose to train with them once every two weeks, or even buy a set number of sessions in order to pick up new ideas for exercise. Not only will you find you’ll push yourself harder when your PT is watching, but you’ll learn more about how to make exercise effective and get the most out of it.

8. Never skip a workout

Short of illness, injury or personal tragedy, don’t skip an exercise session because you feel tired. The chances are, when you start doing the session and you get warmed up, you’ll feel better. Follow the 20-minute rule to motivate yourself to exercise. If you don’t feel like it, tell yourself you’ll only exercise for 20 minutes and you have permission to stop if you don’t feel better. Once you get going, you’ll feel better. That’s normally always the case.

9. Don’t rely solely on the gym

You can do so much at home, so if you don’t have time to get to the gym, don’t use it as an excuse to avoid exercise. Body weight exercises like press-ups, squats, lunges, ab crunches, step-ups on the stairs will all burn calories. Many of the exercises in this guide can be done anywhere with a limited amount of kit. No time for the gym? That’s fine, use your own body weight for resistance.

10. Try a different activity

Fitness experts believe that if you step out of your comfort zone and try something you’re not very good at, you’ll be working very hard. The harder you work, the more calories you burn. For instance, if you’re a regular runner but not very good at swimming and you only do it once in a while, you’ll find it very strenuous. Your heart rate will rise, and you’ll work hard. Never let your exercise routine become easy.

11. Change your programme every six weeks

Don’t keep doing the same exercises at the same intensity, or if you do the same exercises, make them harder by doing them more slowly or by doing extra sets. You’ve got to keep mixing things up to get results.

12. Consistency is key

Finally, be consistent. It’s better to exercise three times a week every week for best results than to exercise six times in one week and do nothing for the next six weeks. Be consistent and the results will keep coming.