Some simple fitness checks will help you plan your path to slimness, says Pat Henry
Pictures posed by instructor Jen Feighery
Are you out of breath with mild exercise? Is your heart rate reaching its maximum too quickly and your recovery rate slow? Is your waist measurement too big - that's over 40 inches for men or 35 inches for the ladies?
If so, it's time to check the above on a regular basis. For example, at this moment, check your heart rate by getting a beat at your wrist or neck.
Count how many beats in 15 seconds, then multiply by four. This will give your resting heart rate. The average would be 65-70 beats per minute. The super fit would be 25-45.
If you are in the 80-100 range, it's time to get checked out by your family doctor, especially before you start a vigorous exercise routine, just to be safe.
When training, the heart rate will increase. If you have access to a monitor, a monitor watch or devices like Jawbone etc, you can set your max heart rate, so when you reach that level, it will bleep to warn you to slow down or take a break. They are a good investment - the cost can vary from €50 to €150.
You get your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. So, fat burning would take place at just close to your maximum heart rate.
The next checklist would be your waist. When measuring your waist, get the accurate size by putting the tape around the centre of your belly button.
Below that is more your tummy, not your waist. For example, men in particular come in to our gym saying their waist is 35 inches. That may be their jeans size, but the real measurement can be 40 inches or more. The waist is a good indicator of fat deposits all over the body and also signals internal fat, which is not a good sign.
Buy a measuring tape and measure weekly. It's scary that so many young people are well over the normal range.
If you're unhappy, it's time to get on the programme - start exercising and change your eating habits. Your body-fat level simply won't get better or reduce on its own if you fail to increase activity and keep away from junk food, alcohol, sugary foods etc. Aim to lose one and a half pounds a week.
Our programme will help tone muscle and improve shape - do three sets of 15 of the exercises featured this week. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you will burn off.
So training and getting firmer has many benefits, including weight loss, inch loss, firming all over, and less internal fat.
For more info, telephone: 01 661 6195; email: info@henry fitnesscentre.com; or see www.henryfitnesscentre.com
Lie back onto ball with your shoulder blades still in contact with it. Place your arms out straight with knuckles to the ceiling. Bending your elbows only, bring the dumb-bells to your forehead, then return them to starting position.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and genuflect forward, keeping the head and spine in a neutral position, ensuring your knees do not go over your toes. Return to your starting position by pushing off the front foot.
Dumb-bell fliers on Swiss ball
Lie back on to the ball with your shoulder blades still in contact with the ball. Bring the dumb-bells up at arm's length, with a slight bend in your elbow. Bring the weights out to the side and back in.
Single rowing for lats
Place one hand on your knee for stability, with your spine horizontal. With the dumb-bell in your free hand, raise your elbow up directly to the ceiling, then return the dumb-bell to the starting position.
Sitting on the ball, keep your chest up and shoulders down, start with the dumb-bells by your side, palms facing out. Bring the dumb-bells up to your shoulders, palms facing directly towards your shoulders, then return to starting position.
Side leg raises
Lie on your side, with ankles, knees, hips and shoulders in line. Flex your foot and bring your toes towards you. Raise your leg up to hip height and as you exhale, raise your leg up to the ceiling, ensuring your body doesn't roll forward or backwards, then return your leg to hip height.
Stand tall or sit on the ball, with your shoulders back and dumb-bells by your side. Lift your arms up and away from the body to shoulder height, keeping a slight bend in the elbow, then return the dumb-bells to your side.