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Day 9: How to Maximise Your Exercise

January 9th 2015 / Anna Hunter


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Want to supercharge your workouts this year? #StartBetter with wit and wisdom from world class trainer Dan Roberts

There’s no better time to blast away the fitness cobwebs than the present - as the old saying goes, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Thinking about your gym routine differently and trying something new can reshape both your body and your mindset; whether it’s a few tweaks or a complete overhaul, ensure you #StartBetter this year with these genius yet grounded tips from expert trainer Dan Roberts.

Tackle the tough stuff first

If you're doing cardio first, then weights, then try doing it the other way around. Weights generally make more of a difference to the body than cardio. The rule of thumb in exercise programming is to do the hard stuff first when you're still fresh. For my female clients who want to lose weight and tone up, I recommend doing 3/4 weights and 1/4 (high intensity) cardio.

Squat like a sumo

Make sumo squats part of your routine. Do these rather than the open/close thigh machines that you find at the gym. Mainly when you use these you hope to God that you don't make eye contact with anyone as you flap your legs about- not so effective, especially seeing as you’re sat down.

Sumo squats work the same inner thigh muscles but in functional (real) movement way. so you're also working glute medius sides of your bottom and lower back and core. You'll get more tone, burn more fat and you'll be doing a proper exercise. I'm always a tad wary of exercises that involve you sitting down! and so should you - to get fit, you have to move

Do your deadlifts

Try saying no to pilates and yes to deadlifts. Deadlifts burn far more fat around the tummy, firm up bottom and tone the hamstrings as a bonus. To get a flatter stomach, deadlifts are the way to go. I like pilates a lot and I’m a qualified pilates trainer, but I'm also a certified strength and conditioning coach, and trust me it’s through strength work that you burn fat, not through core exercises. To burn fat quickly head to the weights section and do the basic exercises: squats, deadlifts, rows and presses. If you were to add in a commitment to cutting out 90% of the rubbish in your diet, you would see super-quick results.

Engage brain as well as glutes

Variety is key - exercise isn't just about toning up. Train for health, mobility, longevity, strength, endurance, coordination, flexibility, agility - reconnect with your natural inner athlete! To do all of this you need to train and move in a variety of ways, and at a range of speeds. Fitness is multi-dimensional. Ask yourself whether your workout is too.

Not a supermodel yet? Don’t sweat it...

A little extra (possibly controversial) tip: don't listen to celebrity trainers. If I train a supermodel it’s pretty impossible for her body to look bad, no matter how poorly I may train her, yet I will still get the credit for her looking great. There is a lot of nonsense flying around in the fitness industry, and my advice is to view self-styled celebrity trainers with a healthy dose of cynicism.

How you plan on working out this year? Do you have a particular goal or challenge in mind? Will you be trying Dan’s tips? Tweet or upload a picture to Instagram using the hashtag #StartBetter

This feature was written in partnership with Clinique #StartBetter

Download Dan’s Methodology X workout here


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