Molly recently joined in with one of the bootcamps we hold at Brinsop Court manor house and it inspired the following advice to getting fit!

Avoid the sweets and snacking aisles

As we idly push our trollies through the supermarket jungle we are, at least partially, unaware of the planning behind the packaging of a naughty treat. Have you ever noticed how the sweets’ aisle reflects every colour of the rainbow, while the nuts and seeds sit in their transparent, 30g packet in varying shades of boring beige and bleak brown? According to the Independent, Cadbury’s packet colour is so essential to its sale that in 2008 they acquired a trademark for that distinctively alluring shade of purple, also known as pantone 2856c. Very similar to the lovely Brinsop Country Manor House colours.

Sweets and snacks are perfectly positioned to leap on us at our most vulnerable even if we’ve started positively by putting a broccoli in the trolley before sliding into the dairy section. We dutifully chose every ‘30% less fat!’ item and even maintained some resolve in the bakery section by ignoring the marked down iced buns.

So, to avoid this dilemma we need to cut out the aisle completely to dodge the trap and break open the Buttons before we’ve got them through the till. Try shopping the other way around – use the strength of your initial resolve on those mischievous aisles and try ending on the more mundane, chilly lanes. Trust me, by the time you arrive at the car you’ll feel proud of yourself for selecting that cold cucumber from the fridges instead.

Exercise AM and PM with intensity

Striding out of the gym, where I’ve spent more time in the shower than I have on the treadmill, I will often head straight to a café for a hearty fry-up. However, this will only lead to a plateauing of weight loss. A recent Bootcamp that I attended at Brinsop Court manor house taught me that keeping the metabolic rate rolling will engage your body with calorie burning, which is at its optimum for an hour after your workout. Further to this, I learned that 20 easy-going minutes on the treadmill while watching Jeremy Kyle won’t give you chiselled thighs.. Fartlek training or GVT is apparently the best way to lose weight quickly, so if you want to be able to appreciate the results before you lose faith – try it out. My essential understanding of it is that you are concentrating bursts of energy, which in turn means that the agonising discomfort of physical exercise is confined to a smaller space of time! For example; run at 80% of maximum capacity for 2 minutes, follow by 1 minute rest. Then run at 80% of maximum capacity for 1 minute, follow by 2 minutes rest. 20% of weight loss can be attributed to exercise alone, so don’t underestimate the power of choosing to cycle or walk over taking transport and stretching every 30 minutes or so to keep your metabolism on the move.

It’s important to keep yourself hydrated (whether losing weight or not) so try to drink through the day. A trick for more enjoyable water without using squash is to make herbal tea, leave it in the fridge and then drink with ice when cool. Exercising in the evening is down to personal preference, but if you find it works for you then go for it. By exercising in the evening you are more likely to maintain your metabolism through the night and you’ll eat earlier in the day too. After I left Bootcamp at Brinsop Court I found that by exercising in the morning and evening it became a routine element of my day, like brushing my teeth or doing the washing up – something that is integral to my day but not a dread to wake to.

Avoid eating out

Eating out is what causes a lot of us to roll off the band wagon. For many, this is because a social atmosphere is incomplete without alcohol. Being on a diet and sitting across the table from a frosty bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that would perfectly compliment the healthy soy and garlic marinated chicken seems irresistible. The grumbling tummy irritably complains under the table and sulkily questions why the chips weren’t ordered too… As a small reward, to be part of the gang you pour yourself a glass and each subsequent glass after that becomes more easily justified.

To combat this try keeping a photo of yourself hung over on your phone (I’d use the locked album function for this). It isn’t simply the evening that we are letting slide, waking up the next morning with a headache will provide too good an excuse not to exercise and that old birthday cake in the office fridge will suddenly be the only cure for your fatigue. If you are lucky enough not to be blighted with the pain of hangovers then try to stick to spirits but watch the mixers. Wine and beer, delicious, but full of sugar which will only race to the tightest part of your wedding dress.

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