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5 top-to-toe toning moves for when you’re too tired to exercise

March 19th 2018 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru / 0 comment


That Girl’s Christina Howells talks us through how to fit fitness in anywhere, and shares a fast yet effective workout that slots into the busiest of working week schedules

Thanks to long commutes and even longer days, it’s no wonder fitting fitness into our lives is becoming harder to do. Ideally we want our workouts to be simple but effective, with enough variety to keep us interested in the long run. Thankfully, this is where That Girl Method comes in.

Created by personal trainer Christina Howells and technical fashion designer Charli Cohen, their system appeals to the most time-short of women. Including Aurelie – a helicopter pilot and advocate of the Method who had previously been disillusioned by workout plans. “They were simply too boring or consisted of endless hours on the treadmill or cross trainer which seemed pointless to me,” she comments. After trying That Girl Method though, things changed: “I loved the feeling after exercising and started to miss that feeling if I didn’t exercise for a few days. The plan was easy to fit into my lifestyle as anyone can make time for 30 minutes. Then, when I started to see results I became more motivated to do more and keep going.”

“With time limits as a factor, efficiency was key in designing Aurelie’s workouts,” says Christina. “Her training routine comprised of a 30-minute circuit consisting of either bodyweight or resistance training combined with short cardiovascular bursts. Moving quickly through total body movements kept her heart rate up throughout the session, burning calories and toning in the most efficient way possible.

“The plan also included steady state cardio 3 times a week consisting of a 45-minute power walk, which fitted best into Aurelie’s lifestyle and exercise preferences. Each week she took 1-2 days off but never more than this.”

Sound interesting? Here, Christina guides you through the first part of Aurelia’s circuit to get a taste of how That Girl (and Aurelie – starring in the GIFs) trains.


Perform each exercise for 60 seconds with 30 seconds rest between each move and 1 minute between each full circuit.

Move through the circuit 3 times.

Exercise 1: Plank swims


Why she does it

This is a dynamic exercise that targets the hamstrings, core and shoulders.


Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, spine straight and gaze forwards.


Bend your knees to place your hands on the floor in front of you engaging your abdominals as you walk your hands out, coming into one straight line and keeping your back straight.

Now keeping your hips still, circle the right arm forwards followed by the left arm.

Walk the hands back towards the feet softening the knees and return to standing.

Hot tip

If you struggle to keep the hips still, then widen your stance for more stability.

Exercise 2: Sprinters


Why she does it

For a cardio boost that’s simple to fit into any programme.


Stand on the balls of your feet, head and body tilted slightly forwards. Arms are bent at a 90 degree angle tucked close to the body.


Spring from your toes and bring alternate knees just below hip level. Keep the core strong throughout the move. As you swing the arms, focus on pushing the elbows back - your hands remaining above the waistline.

Top tip

Work on increasing your speed as you perfect the move.

MORE GLOSS: 5 fat-busting, fitness-boosting exercises you have to try

Exercise 3: Gliding lunges


Why she does it

It works the entire leg musculature while also incorporating balance, co-ordination and flexibility.

How she does it

30 secs on each leg.


Stand with your feet together and arms by your side.


Step the right leg out to the side bending the right knee at a 90 degree angle as you sit the hips backwards. The left leg remains straight with the heel firmly on the floor.

The left arm reaches towards the floor as you stretch the right arm up and back.

Return the right leg back towards the starting position lifting the knee up towards the chest as you balance momentarily on the left leg before repeating the move.

Hot tip

Keep your weight through the heels to activate the glutes and ensure you are bending at the hip into the lunge position (rather than just reaching with the arm). Chest remains lifted throughout.

Exercise 4: Side step touchdowns


Why she does it

For a cardio boost and to work on co-ordination and balance.


Stand with your feet together and arms by your side.


Take two fast side-steps to the right and on your third step bend the right knee at a 90 degree angle while keeping the left leg straight and reach the left hand towards the floor. Repeat the move from right to left.

Top tip

Ensure you are bending at the hip into the lateral lunge position rather than just reaching with the hand.

Exercise 5: Alternate leg drops


Why she does it

To condition the transverse abdominis.


Laying on your back, lift the legs as straight as possible in the air in line with your hips and curl the upper body so the chest and shoulders are off the ground. Extend the arms upwards, fingertips pointing towards the feet. Gaze to the feet.


Draw the lower abdominals in and if you can move your legs a few inches or more away from your hips, you will feel more tension in the abdominals. Be mindful though to not allow the back to arch - find your limit.


From your start point, hollow the abdominals deeper and with control lower one straight leg towards the floor and return before lowering the other leg.

Lower the leg only as far as you can before your back starts to move away from the floor. This is your limit, as you become stronger over time you will be able to drop your legs lower on each reputation.

Top tip

You can make the movement easier by bending the legs.

For individual training with Christina please contact [email protected]

Credits - model: Aurelie Giraud; camera: Nina Shaw; clothes: Charli Cohen Bra & leggings (available from

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