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1. Invest in a timer
Or use an app and mark every 15 minutes at your desk. Then get up, get some water, do a lap or just move away from your chair. Studies in the journal Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise linked time spent sitting to mortality and found that the longer people sit every day, the higher their mortality rate.
2. Trick your stomach
Drink a full glass of water before every meal. It fills the stomach’s empty space creating a feeling of fullness, subtly telling your brain to eat less. Also, chew slower. Not only will you enjoy your food more, it also provides a better chance of your brain getting the signal that you’re getting full – it normally takes the brain around 20 minutes to completely receive the message that the stomach is filling with food. The Westchester University of Pennsylvania recommends at least 30 chews per mouthful.
3. Use tabata time
These high-intensity workouts only last four minutes, but provide better results than hour-long cardio sessions. You can use these rules for almost any kind of cardio – do 20 seconds of intense work (running, cycling, rowing, skipping) then have 10 seconds of rest. Do this non-stop for four minutes.
4. Turn up the beats
Keen to amp up your performance? Skip the gizmos and listen to your favourite tunes. It’ll improve performance, increase motivation and put distractions (like negativity and fatigue) on pause. In The Times, Dr Costas Karageorghis called music sport’s “legal drug”, capable of increasing performance by 20% while reducing an athlete’s perception of effort by 10%. Pick music with a tempo that matches your pace. The 2000m world-record-holder Haile Gebrselassie famously used the song “Scatman”.
5. Lift quickly, lower slowly
You may have been told that you should exercise at a slow tempo to reduce injury, but you can actually prep your body for real life by doing reps at speed and recruit more muscle fibres. We recommend you get the best of both worlds by going slowly on the eccentric phase (the part of the move where you are working with gravity) and pushing fast and hard on the active part of the move. Just make sure your technique is rock solid.