For a true gauge of your shape, bin the BMI and dig out the tape measure
Don't, be fooled by online calculators, the Body Mass Index (BMI) system is both ancient and inaccurate. The notion that your weight should correlate with your height would even label many of the athletes doing battle in this month's Six Nations as obese.
Waist-hip ratio (WHR) is a more scientific indicator of obesity. Divide your waist measurement by your hips: a healthy male WHR is 0.95, But be warned- if your belly starts catching your hips, you have greater worries than just your tailoring.
Studies suggest a WHR of 1.0 or more increases a man's chances of suffering cardiovascular problems or diabetes. But knocking two inches off your waist will take 0.05 off your WHR, bringing you back to safety.
What's more, a UCL study found a link between WHR and attractiveness. It's time to inch your way to health and happiness.
WEEKS ONE AND TWO
Build a healthy habits before hitting the gym
Spike your metabolism with quick-fire circuits
Get serious with these fat-blitzing workouts
Burn hundreds of calories in just 15min
Turn your off days around by using these strategic psychological Post-its
Red is associated with aggression, so psych yourself up with these motivational messages
Blue has a calming effect. Reflect and consider all of your goals when reading these
"Anger can mobilise you to improve yourself of the world," says professor of psychology Dr Howard Kassinove. Think of last time you experienced severe injustice and channel those emotions into working harder. Now drop and do 40 press-ups, maggot.
Stick this:on your bedroom door
Sum up your character in three words. "Once you realise you are the author of your life's script, it can be very empowering," says Bradley Busch, motivation specialist from mental skills training company InnerDrive. Think positive, think powerful...and go for a run.
Stick this: on your bathroom mirror
I'm not a quitter, I'm getting fitter
"Rhymes like this are great because when you're feeling lethargic or tempted to indulge, you want positive thoughts to pop into your head to keep you focused," says motivation coach Martin Hall.
Stick this: to your fridge
Why am I doing this?
Asking yourself why you have set yourself the tasks you're aiming for is a powerful motivation tool, says Busch. Think: "Why am I going to the gym?" You'll respond by visualising your end goal, with the result that you'll push yourself harder. Think about how you want to feel.
Stick this: in your diary
Today is an opportunity to achieve...
Talk to yourself to achieve your goals. Use phrases like: Today I want to... At work I'm capable of... In the gym I will... During this set I'll lift... "This will spur you on, progressing you from 'I want' to 'I am doing'," says sport psychologist Rhonda Cohen.
Stick this: to your work desk
What is my end goal?
"Fight off cravings for things that are bad for you by focusing on what number you're working towards," says dietitian and eating disorder expert Jennifer Low. And it doesn't matter whether it's losing 2in from your waist, or gaining 2in on your arms.
Stick this: to your computer screen
This will NOT beat me!
"Inside your psyche, you have a warrior," says Hall. "It's part of your fight or flight response, and can be engaged when you push yourself. Repeating this statement will help you access this aggression, and use it to your advantage." Handy for pushing out that final rep.
Stick this: to your water bottle
How will I feel if I stop?
This question forces you to consider the negative emotions you'll experience if you quit, says Busch. Valuable motivation if you're hitting your threshold on the treadmill or near failure on the Smith machine.
Stick this: to your iPod
You're only human. "If you veer off track and miss a target, don't beat yourself up about it," says Cohen. "Instead, learn to accept failures as lessons. Focus on what this slip-up has taught you, and remember it next time." Learn from your mistakes and move on - there's work to be done...
Stick this: to your wash bag
WEEK 1 GOAL: make smart food swaps and learn how healthy actions can become second nature
And so it begins, dear fat burner. By now, we hope you have some of the drive needed to make reductions to your waist size - but if not, don't sweat it. Willpower can be learned. "Every habit, even exercise, is ingrained into our neurology," says Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit. "There's a cue, a routine and a reward." This guide will help you instil new habits to support your goal for a leaner physique. Keep your gym kit packed away for now, though. First you need to prep your body and mind for weight loss.
Studies show that tracking your progress increases your sense of accountability. Stick this chart to your fridge and fill it in each week. Measure your waist (around your navel) then divide this by your hip measurement (passing over your hip bones) to work out your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).
|End of wk 1||kg||in|
|End of wk 2||kg||in|
|End of wk 3||kg||in|
|End of wk 4||kg||in|
Follow this habit-forming plan to hit the gym running come next week
Been a while? Then let's start slowly. First, create a cue: set an alarm for a specific time during your lunch when you plan to go to the gym. Once it sounds, reward yourself with something, whether it's a small square of dark chocolate, or a few minutes browsing skysports.com.
Ingrain this cue further by actually heading to your gym of choice as soon as the alarm sounds. Simply stand up, walk there then come back. Yes it's really that simple. Now, time for that reward again.
Banish bad behaviour
Write a list of your worst habits and, each day, give them this treatment to rid yourself of your belt-busting vices
Once your alarm sounds, get off your chair, and power walk to your gym. This time, head inside and have a look around before walking back to your office again. And, of course, reward yourself.
You know how this starts: power walk to your gym, but this time, go inside, change and then go for a gentle cycle on a stationary bike. Follow this with a relaxing shower (another treat), change, walk back and reward yourself.
As before, but slightly up the intensity with a mini workout. Try getting your heart rate up for a bit before you go for another shower. Habits build over time; all you need is consistency to associate a cue with a reward.
The golden rules
Start eating right (right now) with these good food choices
|EAT FISH, EGGS, SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS AND LEAN BEEF OR TURKEY
These are low-fat options. Aim to eat 1g protein for every pound of your target bodyweight. Add a whey shake if you need it.
|SWAP ONE PORTION OF STARCHY CARBS FOR A SERVING OF FRUlT EVERY DAY
Foods such as white bread and pasta are the devil when you want to shift belly fat fast. Fruit is low-calorie, nutrient-dense and high in fibre.
|BUT IF YOU DO EAT CARBS. MAKE THEM WHOLEGRAlN
And ditch white potato for the sweet variety. Try eating a carb-based snack before bed, such as peanut butter on rye, so you don't wake up craving sugar.
ADJUST YOUR ROUTINE
Next time you get the cookie urge, change your response to deliver a different reward. Go for a walk, or try eating a square of chocolate instead. The next day, have a coffee, or think of another alternative.
IDENTIFY THE REWARD
Fifteen minutes later, ask: is the urge gone? If it is, maybe it wasn't the biscuit you were craving, eg. if you wanted energy, the coffee should have helped. Often it's the routine we desire, not the food itself.
BUILD YOUR NEW HABIT
Once you've identified the reward, you can find another way to satisfy cravings. If the walk sated you, it's physical stimulation you need. If chocolate helped, it's sugar, so try substituting for a banana.
WEEK 2 GOAL: eat yourself leaner and hit the gym with this circuit designed to spike your metabolism
As comedian Dylan Moran once quipped: the key to losing weight is to eat less and move more. In fact, eating plays the bjggest part. "True, you can lose fat from dietary changes alone," says weight-loss coach Roger Lawson. "But combined with the right exercise, you'll lose weight and preserve muscle, too." The circuit below hits the three key areas of weight loss and will form the basis of your plan for the next few weeks. " It will aid metabolism, work you near to your anabolic threshold and burn a lot of calories," says PT Chris Bathke.
Meaning it's certainly time to move more.
You have 12min to perform 3 circuits of 4 exercises. Finish each within 1min, then rest until the top of the next minute. If you don't finish by the end of the minute, switch exercise and keep going.
Get to work Your inch-culling train ing plan begins here
MONDAY CIRCUIT A
A1 INVERTED ROWS x 8
Lie facing upwards under a bar placed in a squat rack. Grip the bar at shoulder width and pull yourself up with a straight body.
A2 PRESS-UPS x 8
Lie face down on the floor, hands underneath your shoulders. Keeping straight, push away from the ground until your arms straighten.
A3 REVERSE LUNGES x 8
Stand with your feet together, put one foot behind you and bend your rear knee until it almost touches the floor. Alternate legs.
A4 HIP EXTENSIONS x 8
Lie with your back on the floor, your knees bent and your feet planted on the ground. Raise your hips off the ground so your back and thighs are straight, then lower to the starting position.
WEDNESDAY CIRCUIT B
B1 CHIN-UPS x 5
Grab a pull-up bar with an underhand grip. Lift yourself from the ground and pull your elbows down while raising your collarbone to the bar.
B2 OVERHEAD PRESSES x 5 (EACH ARM)
Stand with a dumbbell at shoulder level, elbow pointing down. Tense your core, and press the weight straight up.
B3 LATERAL LUNGES x 5 (EACH LEG)
Step out with your right foot. With toes forward, squat on your right leg, keeping the left leg straight.
B4 DUMBBELL SQUATS x 10
In a shoulder-width stance, hold a dumbbell to your chest. Bend your knees forward and push hips back until thighs are parallel to the floor.
FRIDAY CIRCUIT C
C1 HANGING LEG RAISES x 8
Grip a pull-up bar just wide of shoulder width. Bend knees, raise your hips and curl your lower back, lifting thighs to chest.
C2 KETTLEBELL ROWS x 8 (EACH ARM)
Place right knee and right hand on a bench. Keep your torso horizontal and pull the kettlebell to your ribs.
C3 KETTLEBELL SWINGS x 10
Hold a kettlebell with both hands between your legs. Moving hips forward, swing arms up and squeeze your glutes. Return.
C4 KETTLEBELL BENCH PRESS x 8 (EACH ARM)
Lie on a bench with the kettlebell at shoulder level, palm upwards. Sqveeze your chest and extend your arm.
Stick to week 1's rules and add in these tips to keep your nutrition on track
Make a pasta salad with veg and tuna to eat after your first workout - it has the ideal mix of carbs and protein.
Drink ice cold water throughout the day. Your body will try to warm itself, boosting your metabolism.
Prepare brown rice, veg and chicken to meet your requirements for post-gym nutrition on Wednesday.
Start the day with green tea, snack on fruit and nuts to curb afternoon hunger and drink a protein shake in the evening.
Add peppers to your meals. Their high water content keeps you full for longer.
Start your day with green tea, train, and eat three eggs.
Your new breakfast
Wake up your metabolism first thing with this spicy shake This weight-loss booster, created by nutritionist Leigh Peele, will ensure you start each day the right way. Add a handful of oats on training days for a workout fuel top-up.
Place all ingredients bar the spices in a blender. Blitz until smooth, then stir in the pepper and cinnamon. Consume immediately.
The protein makes up nearly 25% of your required intake, while the berries offer about 20% of your RDA of fibre. The spices speed up your metabolism and keep your blood sugar levels in check, meaning more energy and less fat storage.
We promised you wouldn't have to give up the things you love. Thanks to your hard work, here's what you've earned this weekend
By switching refined carbs for low GI alternatives + Packing in protein at every meal = You get an extra 550 calories
Gorging for one day each week ensures that your body's metabolic rate doesn't get lazy and start slowing down. So naturally, you'll want to make the most of it. Having dropped all refined carbohydrates and increased your protein intake over the course of the week, your metabolism and blood sugar levels are now vastly improved. Kick back for 24 hours this weekend with one of the following to keep your body's fat-burning engine stoked.
By doing 3 gym sessions + Not drinking all week + Increasing your fluid intake = You've earned A DRINK on Saturday
We're only trying to be realistic here. Any plan that totally banishes your favourite things isn't going to work. So have a reward in the form of a Saturday night drink. Of course, it's important not to go overboard (though if you happen to do so Make sure you drink plenty of water both before and after the booze, and - whatever you do - avoid the post-revelry doner kebab. There's kicking back, then there's just plain kicking yourself in the teeth.
WEEK 3 GOAL: turn your lunch break in to a fat-burning tour de force with this hardcore plan
Now we're getting serious. In fact , you're going to have to supplement your training and eat like a seasoned gym goer to be able to keep up with this week's circuits. Continue to follow last week's food regime, but increase your carbohydrate intake as below to ensure you have sufficient energy to handle the circuits. "The right diet controls what you lose when you train: muscle or fat," says PT Roger Lawson. So for the best results, tailor your eating to this week's training.
The extra 10%
Pop one of these daily to get a leg-up from drugs
08:00 GREEN TEA TABLET
Research by the American Society of Nutrition found its catechins will help to trim your waist in less time
14:00 SOLUBLE VITAMIN C
This will boost your immune system, plus Arizona State University found it increases weight loss.
Strike the right balance
How to get the perfect plateful at every meal
Ensure optimum strength and energy with the ideal training-day breakfast; on rest days, just follow your regular plan.
POACHED EGGS & STEAMED SPINACH ON WHOLEMEAL TOAST(2 SLICES)
A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that protein at breakfast speeds up your metabolism.
SWEAT IT OUT
It's time to up the work rate to score an even bigger metabolic hit.
MONDAY CIRCUIT A
A1 INVERTED ROWS x 10
Place a bar in a squat rack, and lie under it facing upwards. Grab the bar in a shoulder-width grip, and pull yourself up until your chest reaches the bar. Lower slowly and repeat.
A2 TRX PRESS-UPS x 10
Lie face down on the floor, and place your feet into the stirrups of a TRX (or on a Swiss ball). Engage your core to keep your body straight and perform a standard press-up.
A3 WALKING LUNGES x 10
Step forward with your right leg and lower your left knee to the floor in a controlled motico. Then step forward into a lunge with your left leg, tensing your abs for stability.
A4 TRX HIP EXTENSION LEG CURLS x 10
lie on your back, with one leg in a TRX stirrup, the other lifted with your knee bent. Lift your hips off the floor and curl the TRX towards your body.
A5 MEDICINE BALL SLAMS x 10
Stand with your knees slightly bent, holding a med ball overhead. Bend forward at the waist and use power from your corn to slam the ball to the ground. Catch and repeat 10 times.
WEDNESDAY CIRCUIT B
B1 CHIN-UPS x 5
Pull yourself up quickly (this should take roughly l sec), then lower to the starting position more slowly. This ensures you place maximum demand on your muscles.
B2 ONE-ARM OVERHEAD PRESSES (EACH ARM ) x 5
Increase the weight from last week if you can handle it. Press the dumbbell up until your arm locks out and then lower it to your shoulder.
B3 LATERAL LUNGES (EACH LEG) x 5
Look directly ahead, engage your core and keep your arms to the side for balance as you lunge. Tense your glutes as you push back upwards.
B4 DUMBBELL FRONT SQUATS x 10
Increasing the weight from last week's kettlebell squats, lower yourself down until your thighs are almost parallel with the floor, then explode upwards.
B5 MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS x 10
Crouch into a squat-thrust position, and run on the spot. Try to get your knees as close to your chest as possible when alternating each leg. Two footfalls equals 1 rep.
FRIDAY CIRCUIT C
C1 HANGING LEG RAISES x 10
Focus on using your core to control the entire motion to achieve the biggest metabolic hit, and directly target your midriff. You'll never need to do crunches again.
C2 KETTLEBELL ONE-ARM ROWS x 10
Use the same technique as last week, but use more weight if you can. Focus on maintaining perfect form by engaging your abs.
C3 KETTLEBELL SWINGS x 15
Simply tensing your core when performing the swings can turn this exercise into a serious six-pack hit. Done correctly, it burns more calories than almost any other move, too.
C4 DUMBBELL ONE-ARM BENCH PRESS x 10
Using the same form as the kettlebell press on pll, focus on squeezing your chest to ensure maximum muscle fatigue, and lower slowly.
C5 200M ON A ROWER
Get to a rowing machine as fast as is acceptable in your gym. Power through 200m at the highest resistance you can manage.
These circuits will take 15 minutes in total. Perform all 5 exercises 3 times each, as before. Finish the specified number of reps within 1 min and rest for the remainder of the time. Try to increase the weight where stipulated, but retaining good form is paramount. Well done-you're well on the way to shedding those inches.
Eating is not cheating - in fact, it 's an essential part of this regime, so kick back and enjoy some Saturday rest and relaxation. You've earned it
All work and no play makes Jack a dull (and rather rotund) boy. Your body is now becoming more and more used to its new 'clean' eating plan, so it's time to give it a big shock to keep it fired up.
These options are as useful as they are appetising: the large carbohydrate and calorie hit will force your metabolism into overdrive come Monday, and we hope the smorgasbord of flavour will keep your vices at bay for the following week. Simply select how you want to indulge (opt for a calorie-heavy evening meal or a selection of treats throughout the day), then tuck in and enjoy.
WEEK 4 GOAL: find your body's limits and give your newfound training habits true staying power
You're almost there. Just three more trips to the gym, some nutritional tweaks, and you're done. It's important to remember that this stage is all about intensity: train hard, have the right food and get plenty of sleep. Eat the same meals as last week but, as before, increase your carbohydrate intake slightly on training days - you're going to need it. Remember, even though you need carbs for energy. you should still be eating less overall than you were before this plan to ensure you still have a calorie deficit.
Make It stick
Once a behaviour is set. It's far easier to maintain than it was to initiate. Use new rewards to make instilling healthy habits easier
|8am cold shower||Ketchup with breakfast||Spiked metabolism|
|Stretching before workStretching before work||Cup of coffeeCup of coffee||Primed for training|
|Pint of water at desk||Small piece chocolate||Fewer hunger pangs|
Pills and spills
Add these supplements to your daily Intake in addition to last week's
Packed with nutrients and antioxidants to keep your immune system strong as you train hard to burn fat.
The branch chain amino acids ensure you avoid muscle breakdown. Swap a pre-workout snack for a 10g dose.
HIT MAXIMUM INTENSITY
Increase the load and raise the rep count to push your weight loss to the max
MONDAY CIRCUIT A
A1 INVERTED ROWS x 12
Perform the rows as before, but pull yourself up as explosively as possible to increase intensity and calorie burn, while squeezing the bar throughout.
A2 RENEGADE ROWS x 8
Place two small kettlebells on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Hold yourself above them in a press-up position, but with straight arms. Row each arm to your ribs.
A3 REVERSE KETTLEBELL LUNGES x 10
Holding a medium-weight kettlebell to your chest, lunge backward before driving back up. This is one you're going to feel tomorrow.
A4 TRX HIP EXTENSION LEG CURLS x 12
Perform. Keep your glutes and abs tight during the move to reap the greatest rewards. Try holding at the top for 1sec.
A5 JUMPING MEDICINE BALL SLAMS x 12
Stand with a med ball held in front of you, squat and spring upward lifting the ball overhead. Then slam it to the floor recruiting power from your abs. Again, these circuits take 15min, cycling through the 5 exercises 3 times. Finish the specified number of reps for each exercise within 1min, and rest for however many seconds are left. Increase the weight as indicated, giving 100% effort to burn maximum fat. Refuel your weary muscles with a protein shake.
WEDNESDAY CIRCUIT B
B1 HANGING LEG RAISES x 12
This week, your aim is to raise your legs higher than before, and to hold at the top of the movement for 2sec before lowering. Keep your core engaged to work your abs too.
B2 KETTLEBELL ONE-ARM ROWS x 10
Up the weight again from last week, and attempt to perform the lifting phase of the row as explosively as possible for added energy burn.
B3 KETTLEBELL ONE-ARM BENCH PRESS x 10
Again, increase the weight from last week. Using the same technique as the dumbbell bench press, push up, squeezing your chest.
B4 KETTLEBElL SWINGS x 10
Perform the swing as on page 11, bending your legs before thrusting your hips forward and bringing the kettlebell to shoulder height. Tense your glutes to control the movement.
B5 JUMPING BURPEES x 15
Almost done. From a standing start, squat down, kick your legs into a press-up position. Jump them back into your chest, and jump as high as possible. The first 5 are easy.
FRIDAY CIRCUIT C
C1 CHIN-UPS x 6
Focus on achieving fast upward movement without letting yourself swing. Stay steady on the raise to engage stabilising muscles.
C2 ONE-ARM OVERHEAD PRESSES (EACH ARM) x 6
Controlling your breathing improves your workout efficiency. Inhale on the lowering phase, exhale on the way up.
C3 LATERAL LUNGES EACH LEG x 6
If you can remain balanced, hold yourself in the lower position for 1 sec before driving back to the start.
C4 DUMBBELL FRONT SQUATS x 12
With a higher weight than last week, take 2sec to lower yourself and 1 sec from full squat to standing position.
C5 MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS x 15
It's better to retain perfect form than to struggle through extra reps with poor technique: ensure your knees almost touch your chest.
Rest, then add 1 set of these after each circuit to burn more energy
DEAD LIFT x 10
Keeping your back straight, grip the bar, rise to a standing position, pushing your hips forward slightly.
OVERHEAD SQUAT x 10
With a barbell overhead, lower until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Push up.
Congratulations, you're there. You've got a firmer, leaner body as well as increased energy levels. And that calls for a celebration...
Crack open the bubbly. No, seriously-this week's cheat day doubles up as a celebration of your hard-earned achievements. Marvel at the final measurement on your fridge-sticker and pour everyone a glass; that final week of exercise has torched thousands of calories.
Four weeks of low-GI carbs, extra veg, intense workouts and clever supplements have provided you with the metabolism of an athlete with increased fitness to boot. We hope you feel healthier, happier and, of course,leaner.
From here, continue with week 3's exercise plan to maintain the physique, and remember your nutritional rules, sticking to them as closely as possible. If you fall off the wagon, don't worry, just assess your situation, and dip back into this guide at the point that feels right. Now, it 's time to find yourself some new belts.
NO PAIN MAINTAIN
Here's the pain-free way to keep those good intentions going
1 Keep some of the key peinciples in this plan: limit carbohydrates and ensure they're never white; reward good behaviours; always have a cheat day.
2 Exercise, but not too much. As this plan shows, short intense intervals are better for keeping off those inches than slogging on the treadmill.
3 Pay for your crimes - if you fall off the wagon with eight pints on a Friday, hit the gym on Sunday. Otherwise that weight will pile back on.
4 Always ensure your fruit and protein intake is up to standard, otherwise you'll miss out on the building blocks of weight and muscle maintenance.