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If New Year’s Day 2014 saw you make an effort to become healthier, more energised and looking good enough to stop the traffic, then now’s the time to review your first three months progress!

Look back at your Xmas photos – has your shape or size changed? Can you engage in higher intensity physical activity using less effort? Do you look and feel better – are people stopping you in the street and asking for your phone number? If you didn’t start already – you can, RIGHT NOW!

If you tried the fitness test in FM 6, try it again and evaluate your scores - if you didn’t, have a go now and try it again just before the summer kicks in. And if you need a little extra fitness help in the meantime don’t be afraid to get in touch with me through my Twitter, Facebook or my website.

The video below features some exercises to help boost your fitness, if you use them regularly they will also help condition your muscles you to beat your fitness test scores. These exercises are aimed at people who have been following the previous fitness mission programmes – if you haven’t followed so far you can catch up at the Echo online now and build up to today’s exercises.

Before attempting this workout, check with your G.P if you have any doubt as to your suitability to safely participate in any of the exercises shown and be reminded that you participate entirely at your own risk. If you use any equipment check it is in good order and if you are balancing on anything check that it is not likely to break or slip.

Workout guide to repetitions, sets and rest

Remember there is nothing to be gained from flailing around like a lunatic with no technique, except a possible visit to the physiotherapist and a possible embarrassing Youtube video if anyone catches you! Take time to master technique – copy the tutorial videos a few times slowly, then go for it.

To beat your fitness test scores:

Full speed ahead

3 sets of as many of each exercise (reps) as you can in 30 to 35 seconds – with 30 to 45 seconds rest between sets

To improve stability and increase strength:

Slow and very controlled

3 - 4 sets of up to 12 reps moving at 4 seconds on the lowering phase of each exercise and 2 seconds on raising movements (e.g. press up 4 seconds toward the floor, 2 seconds on the way back up). Break for around 1 minute, 90 seconds maximum.

To improve muscle tone and endurance:

High reps - go for the burn!

1 – 3 sets of 15 to 25 reps moving almost as quickly as you would in the fitness test, and rest for less that 45 seconds.

These videos contain general ideas for fitness and healthy living, but they are  not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice for you as an individual. You must take personal responsibility for your own safety and well-being. Performing exercises can pose a risk to the exerciser, so before exercising check any equipment you are using is in good condition and be sure to know your own limits. You should consult a doctor if you have any questions regarding your health or the suitability of any fitness programme.

 The workout

How to stretch

If you took the fitness test and the numbers showed improvements all round – awesome work, you have clearly been busy exercising and it’s paid off! Use the exercises in the video to enhance your performance for the next test.

If you have improved in some areas but not others, the scores provide you a guide to your strengths and highlight the areas where you should try harder, add extra sets to your worst exercises, and make it your mission to master them! Practise makes perfect, and perseverance pays off, keep trying and you will make it happen.

If you have had a lazy start to 2014 – haul yourself off the sofa - summers coming, IT’S TIME TO GET IN THE SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE and feel amazing for it!

If you need a little more motivation, I teach a range of, fun but effective fitness classes, I also provide expert personal training and small group classes

Until next month – Do yourselves proud - Workout safe and stay happy!