29 May 2008

Free 7 Day Fitness, Food, Relaxation Guide

Okay, here it is. 

The 7 Day Fitness, Food & Relaxation Guide that I compiled.

Like all the fitness tips on this blog, these tips will get you toned and sweating but there's more.

I've given you 7 days worth of food suggestions to increase your energy, balance your mood and get you feeling great. As if all that wasn't enough, I've also included relaxation tips that will help you unwind and some motivational words to see you through the programme.

I know this works, all I need from you is a commitment to follow the plan and I promise you that you'll feel energized, focused and tighter by the end.

All you need to do is sign up and the plan will be mailed to you straight away. The form is on the left hand side of this blog.

Good luck and enjoy.

28 May 2008

Fitness Tips for the Bedroom

The weather in London has been terrible over the last few days with non-stop rain and quite a few people have said they'd rather not even venture outside.

Still, that's no excuse not to get your exercise done. If you can't go to the gym, I'll bring the gym to you.

Here's a quick 3 step indoor workout that will both strengthen and tone your bum, arms, thighs and abs while giving you a great cardio workout. It won't take long and you won't get rained on!

Run through 15 reps of each exercise and then repeat the sequence. And then once more for good measure if you're feeling keen...

1. Squats
Jeff Archer Squat
Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Sit back, bending at your hips and your knees. Keep your knees above your toes. Stand straight and repeat x 15

2. Squat Thrusts
Jeff Archer Squat Thrust
Jeff Archer Squat Thrust

Place your hands in a press up position and bend your knees so they are between your elbows. Kick your feet out together behind you so your body is in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Bring the knees back to the start position and repeat x 15.

3. Seated Rows
Jeff Archer Seated Row
Wrap a resistance band around your feet making sure you have tension in the band with your arms straight. Keeping your knees slightly flexed and your shoulders relaxed, bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together to bring the ends of the band towards your body. Straighten your arms and repeat x 15.

Coming Soon!
If you love great fitness tips, look out for the 7 Day Fitness, Food & Relaxation Guide. Its a full day by day guide telling you what exercises to do, what to eat and how to chill out. I'll be loading it up this week - all you have to do is sign up and it's yours for free.

27 May 2008

How To Age Well

We're obsessed with ageing and the older we get, the more obsessive we become. Thanks to Madonna, it is no longer acceptable to look your age when you finally hit 50. Sure, she may have had some help (or so my wife tells me!) but that woman doesn't look a day over 35. Any idea we had of letting ourselves go a bit when we get older is now redundant. We all want to look younger than we are, but if you say no to the knife, how can you challenge the signs of ageing? It's possible if you take a fresh look at the way you eat, sleep, rest, play and live. Here's how.


Anti-oxidants are a group of organic substances which include vitamins C, E and vitamin A, selenium, and carotenoids. They help combat the signs of ageing by destroying the oxidants or free radicals inside the human body that attack it and they help to keep the skin firm by protecting the skin's collagen and elastic tissue. Anti-ageing foods are full of anti-oxidants so eating this is a big step towards holding back the years and improving your general health.

Eat This - Garlic, onions, green leafy vegetables, chilli peppers, lentils, kidney beans, chick peas, yogurt, nuts and seeds, rasberries, cherries, plums, oranges.

Fitness for Life

Rarely will you find someone who looks younger than their years who doesn't exercise. Fitness not only keeps you trim, agile and healthy, but it gives you a glow of healthiness and youthfulness that radiates from you. Make exercise a part of your life - it doesn't have to be high-impact spinning or weight training, regular gentle exercise is great too. The more you do this, the better you look. The longer you do this, the better you look for longer. Simple.

Try This- Add a daily walk to your routine or swim regularly. Sign up for a 10k run or subscribe to a fitness or health magazine for 6 months and body-envy will motivate you if nothing else.

Reduce Stress

If you've ever seen someone you know after they've had some trauma in their life, you'll have noticed how much they've aged in a short time. that's what stress does to you over a longer period but the end result is the same. If you know you are more stressed than you can cope with, change something. You will be giving yourself the best gift ever and likely extending your life. Stress sits on your face and your heart - reduce it now.

Do This - Try breathing exercises to relax you; book a massage - treat yourself; take up yoga.

Stop smoking

I wont go into what it does to your heart and lungs because everyone knows this by now. But smoking gives you deep wrinkles, dries out your skin and gives your skin a lovely, grey colour that adds 10+ years to your face. Nice.

Know This - One of my clients is a plastic surgeon and he once told me that the people who age the most are blondes, who live in the sun and who smoke. You can't control your natural hair colour or re-locate so easily but you can control the smoking.

Stop frowning

Look in the mirror and have a conversation with yourself. Look out for the faces you pull and when you come to the frown face, stop. That's the face you should avoid pulling from now on. Frowning gives you wrinkles and deep ones at that but it also makes you appear stern and flat. A smile brightens the face, works the muscles in the right direction (up) and is contagious. It generates great feedback.

Do This - Try to smile for as much of the day as you can. When you're at work, sitting on the train, walking by. You'll become aware of how many people make eye contact with you and smile back.

Break the Habit
Your day is dictated by what you say to yourself in the morning. Waking up and dreading the office is the first step to ensuring your day will be bad. Break this negative habit immediately and try 'power talking' to yourself instead. Today is going to be great. I can't wait for this afternoon. By changing your attitude, you become more positive and upbeat and look and feel better. This is a youthful and vital approach to life whereas moaning, whingeing, dreading is very negative and comes across as old and unable to cope with what life throws at you.

Try This - next time you are supposed to go to a meeting or meet a friend when you would rather crash out at home, say this -I can't wait to do _______, it's always great fun. I can't wait for _________, it's usually really interesting. I promise this works a charm.

P.S. - My client, the plastic surgeon I mentioned above also told me this, the only skin creme on the market that he believed really helped to delay the signs of ageing? The cheapest - Nivea. The original version, the creme your mum used to smear all over your face as a child...who knew?

23 May 2008

Nice Legs!

I've been posting fitness tips for a few weeks now to get your bodies summer ready.
We've tackled:

1. bingo wings (flabby arms)
2. bum (butt, rear end, trunk)
3. waists(abs)

Today, it's all about getting trimmer thighs and toned & defined calves. As usual, these are very simple moves that make big changes to your body if you do them every other day. You ready?

Sumo Squat
For a lower body exercise that really targets your butt, saddlebags and inner thighs, try this one.
Jeff Archer sumo squat
Jeff Archer sumo squat
Stand upright with your feet wide and your toes pointed outwards
Lift your hands out to the front for balance
Bend at the hips to sit back and bend the knees at the same time
Lower your butt as far as you can without leaning too far forwards
Make sure you keep your knees directly above or just behind your toes at all times
Stand straight without locking your knees and repeat x 15

If you need to make this move tougher you can hold on to a pair of dumbbells between your legs or a bag of shopping!

Single leg calf raise
A brilliantly quick way to tone your calves
Jeff Archer single leg calf raise
jeff Archer single leg calf raise
Stand straight and hook one foot behind the other ankle
You may need to balance against a wall as you rise up onto your toes
Lower the heel gently back to the ground and repeat x 15 before switching legs

Couldn't be easier, have a go and let me know what you think.

21 May 2008

2 Fitness Tips To Help You Lose Weight Fast

If you’re looking to fire up your fitness results you need to consider changes you can make in two areas of your routine. 

Firstly, what you do when you work out to make each workout a maximum fat burner and maximum exertion.   

Secondly, what you can do to increase your activity levels during the course of each day so you're really burning calories all day long.

1.Play Mind Games
Earlier this week I only had time for a short run so I wanted to make the best use of the time I had. Once I’d got warmed up I followed a pattern of running 100 steps as fast as I could and then recovered for 100 steps. I kept this up for around 15-minutes and the overall intensity of the workout was definitely higher than I would have achieved had I just run at a consistent speed for the same amount of time.

You can follow the same routine to shake up with your workout. If you row, try alternating 25 tough strokes with 25 recovery strokes. If you prefer the bike try 100 hard pedal turns with 100 easy ones to get your breath back. These workouts are challenging but fun and you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of. Prepare to sweat!

2. Get Moving
OK, this will make me sound a little strange but this morning I had a call to make which I knew was going to last an hour. As an experiment I strapped on a pedometer and did the call standing and strolling around instead of sitting at my desk. I managed to clock up 866 steps without even trying!

If I followed the same pattern for the rest of a 7 hour working day, that would make 6062 steps which is well on the way to the recommended 10,000 steps per day.

It would also mean an extra 3 miles of walking per day. That’s a marathon every 9 working days. So if you're struggling to make time for a workout, bring the workout to you! Multi- tasking is the way.

20 May 2008

How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

In the Western world, a complaint you hear at least 10 times a day from people you live with, work with or even stand next to on the train is how tired they always are.  Life is wearing us out it would seem and although we try to cram as much as we can into everyday, it seems we're losing.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  There are small changes we can make that help immediately and before long, you can count yourself out as one of those people who's always saying how tired they are.   These are The Seven Secret Habits of Energised People

1. Try morning exercise - yoga stretches, a short run, a swim. You may struggle to get out of bed but what if I promised you it would make you feel more energetic? Guaranteed.

2. Write a to do list for everyday. Now review the list and think about what you can delegate to someone else and what you have to do. Make sure you replace the stuff you delegate with time that is all about you. A walk, a nap, a phone call to a friend who makes you laugh. Something light hearted and escapist.

3. Write a tasks completed list. What's the point of knowing what you have to do without celebrating the stuff that's out of the way. Feel smug!

4. Don't drink alcohol after 9pm and better still, for a great nights sleep, skip it out completely. The difference it makes to your quality of sleep is astonishing. When the alarm goes the next morning, you'll be ready to get up and not feeling desperate for more shut-eye.

5. Don't drink coffee after lunchtime and every time you want a coffee, have a tall glass of water instead. What you eat will either make you more or less tired so make the right choice. Some quick tips here

6. People get tired when jobs take too long so set deadlines for everything and work in short, sharp bursts. The plan is to get all chores and duties out of the way by 5 so you can start winding down.

7. Stop saying you're tired all the time. Start saying you feel great when anyone asks you and get out of the self-fulfilling rut of saying how exhausted you are. It will only make you feel even more tired. Try it. You can become the person you project.

P.S. -In some cases, the tiredness is not lifestyle related but medical so it may be worth getting your thyroid checked. You may have an under active thyroid which is making you feel worn out - a blood test at your doctors should tell you.

16 May 2008

Truth About Skipping Meals

super skinny girl shoppingWhile we’re talking this week about how to get a small waist it seems like a good time to mention how your eating pattern will play a part in achieving a million dollar mid section.

If I had £10 for every time a client has asked me why they skipping meals is so bad and why if it works for models, why can't it work for them, I'd be retired and living in Mauritius by now! So here it is, the definitive answer about why it's bad for you and can even make you fat.

Why Skipping Meals Doesn't Work

1. We all need energy to survive
. If you consume more energy than your body requires you will store it around your body as fat. These fat stores are almost limitless.

2. If you don’t consume as much energy as your body requires, your metabolism will slow down. Your body does this in order to cling onto whatever energy it has stored. This is the body in starvation mode. This is what it does if it thinks there is no food around. It goes into this mode after only a few hours of you not eating.

3. If you skip a meal and put your body into starvation mode and then eat something later in the day, your body is grateful. It’s crying out for energy. But it’s not yet convinced that danger has been avoided or that food is now in abundant supply. So it won’t yet snap out of starvation mode. Instead it will store as much of the energy you now give it as possible. This energy will be stored as fat.

4. If you follow the same routine tomorrow and the day after you will train your body to become really efficient at storing body fat. Your stomach may appear flatter, but I can't stress enough, YOU BECOME A FAT STORER.

Why eating regularly does work

1. On the other hand, if you eat regular amounts of the right food, your body will be comfortably persuaded that there is plenty of food around and it does not need to be in starvation mode. It will happily use the energy you consume as there is no need to store it because your body knows the next meal or snack will never be too far away.

2. If you eat regularly you will train your body to use what you eat and drink efficiently and you will minimise the amount of body fat you store.

So, please, no more skipping meals but remember:

Eat right
Eat regularly
Eat a variety of foods
Eat the right portion sizes

And for those of you with short memories, don't skip meals. It plays havoc with your memory.

PS - the reason that some models are able to skip meals and stay rake thin is because they skip A LOT of meals and for a long period of time. If they were to start eating normal portions, they'd gain weight, like the rest of us. Theirs is a long road to starvation as opposed to occasional skipped supper. You don't need me to tell you just how bad that is.

Photograph by ngering (Flickr)

15 May 2008

Is Wii Fit Worth All the Hype?

Since its launch, the Wii Fit has taken the US and UK by storm. Cynics have said its only useful to the VERY lazy who never workout anyway whilst others seem to rave about it. So, what if you put it to the test with various guinea pigs all of whom have different levels of fitness. Who'll still love it then? Well that's exactly what they did in this article.

Who got a good workout and would come back for more? Not who you'd think. Meet the guineapigs...

The multitasker mum who has no time to work out
The sweat hound who loves a bit of cardio
The yoga master who knows her shapes
The fitness professional
The couch potato...say no more

I could tell you know what the results were but it's a fun, short article so do try to read it if you get a moment. 

Read the full article here.

13 May 2008

How To Get A Small Waist Part 2

I posted Part 1 of How To Get A Small Waist yesterday featuring 2 exercises to get your waist tighter and more defined. I hope you've had a chance to try them out.

Here are the final 2 exercises as promised and remember, don't forget the cardio. Do that in combination with these 4 moves and you'll get the quickest results. Here we go...

Scissor kicks

Jeff Archer Scissor Kicks exerciseJeff Archer Scissor Kicks exerciseJeff Archer Scissor Kicks exercise
  • Lie face up with your knees and hips at 90-degrees
  • Straighten one leg and lower this foot towards the floor keeping your stomach tight and your back flat to the floor
  • Just before this foot hits the floor, bring it back to the starting position
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Repeat x 15 each leg
  • Be extra vigilant about your back staying on the floor

Reverse crunches

Jeff Archer Reverse Crunch ExerciseJeff Archer Reverse Crunch Exercise

  • Lie face up with your knees and hips at 90-degrees
  • Tighten your lower abdominal muscles to bring your knees closer to your chest
  • Your lower back will lift off the floor
  • Lower your legs to the starting position but don't allow your knees to travel too far forwards
  • Avoid any arcing of the spine by keeping your abs tight as your knees come forwards
  • You should feel the pinch in your abs but don't be tempted to swing backwards and forwards.
  • Repeat x 15

12 May 2008

How To Get A Small Waist

Following on from fitness tips on how to get rid of bingo wings or underarm cleavage (!), and tips on getting your bum into shape for the summer, it's now the time to pay attention to defining your waist.

Health benefits apart, a defined waist makes you look good, makes your clothes look great and apparently, makes you very attractive to the opposite sex. No time to waist then....

1. The Plank
Jeff Archer doing The Plank
Jeff Archer doing The Plank

  • Lie face down with your body supported on your forearms
  • Keeping your knees in contact with the ground, life your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Then lift your knees from the ground so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
  • Hold your stomach tight to keep the bridge straight while breathing deeply and evenly

  • Hold for 10 seconds then relax

  • Then hold for 15 seconds and relax
  • The more you practice this exercise, the longer you can aim to hold the position - try aiming for 60 seconds off the ground by the end of your first week.

2. Lower body twists

  • Lie face up with your knees and hips at 90-degrees
  • Breathe deeply and tighten your stomach muscles
  • Keeping your knees at right angles allow your legs to roll over to one side but make sure your body remains flat on the ground - both shoulders should remain in contact with the floor
  • Keep your feet and knees together throughout the movement.
  • Repeat x 15 each side

3. Cardio work

  • If you're flabby, all the abs definition in the world will barely show through so you must carry on doing cardio work to lose the weight around your middle. You want to do this quickly so here's how: -

  • Forget the fat burning zone, you don't have time for that right now. Instead, do short, focused work outs pushing yourself hard. 15 minutes really building up a sweat is better than 45 mins of going through the motions.

  • Think of it like this, if you work at 50% of your maximum effort, getting the results will take twice as long. So knuckle down to it.

  • Coming Up tomorrow - 2 more waist defining exercises that target the abs!
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9 May 2008

How To Tone Your Bum

Earlier in the week, I showed you how to work on those bingo wings and tone those biceps in time to show them off with your summer clothes.

Well now it's time to sort out the junk in your trunk! Yes, the bum. Summer is a cruel season when it comes to showing off the body so trying these 2 simple moves at least 3 times a week will have you (and others) noticing the difference.

Single Leg Lunges
  • Stand with one foot on a bench or step behind you.
  • Keeping your upper body upright, bend your front leg until your back knee almost touches the ground.
  • Stand straight, and repeat x15.
  • Swap legs and repeat x15

Jeff Archer lungeJeff Archer start of lunge


  • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Sit back, bending at your hips and your knees as though you were about to sit on a chair.
  • Keep your knees above your toes.
  • Stand straight and repeat 15 times

Jeff Archer squats

If you do both of these exercise today, tomorrow and Sunday, I guarantee that by Monday, you'll start to notice a difference. Combine these with the bingo wings and biceps and you'll be Summer ready in no time. Just 4 moves - go on give them a go.

7 May 2008

Is Your Life Just Work, Work, Work?

Yesterday morning, I woke up very early so I could go for a long run. I knew I was going to be running for 2 and a half hours and instead of dreading it, I was actually looking forward to it because I knew how it was going to make me feel whilst I was doing it. I had a presentation to deliver in the evening so I knew I could practice some more as I ran and had the rare luxury of just allowing my mind to wander where it wanted. The weather was lovely and I was relaxed and I just felt... happy.

This got me thinking. The people I know who are most 'in control' of their lives and most satisfied and happy on a day-to-day basis are those who have an outlet, a hobby (for want of a better word!). I often ask clients what they do when things are stressful in the office - what can they turn to or rely on knowing it will calm them down and allow them to carry on with the rest of their day. Mostly, they don't have one and a few say they go outside for a cigarette. Obviously I don't recommend that but what do you do when you need a time out? You know what stresses you but more importantly, do you know what de-stresses you?

Hobbies are what we all have as kids but only some of us have them when we grow up. It is so good for your health and mind to have something you enjoy in your life as a regular fixture and know that in times of stress, you could escape to do it knowing it will get you back on track.

Its obviously harder for some people to find any spare time in the day - like mothers with young children, but even if it's 15 minutes in the middle of the day to do something distracting, it's worth everything.

So what could you do?
The hobby needs to be something that is mentally all consuming so that it demands 100% of your focus so you don't worry about what else you should be doing. Life is too much about worrying what we should be doing and that's why taking this break is essential.

Try running, cycling, swimming, golf, dancing, gym classes, walking and gardening.

And distraction techniques don’t necessarily have to be activity based. My sister-in-law is a busy Company Director but she manages to lose herself in sewing when she needs to wind down and refocus.  I also know people who get lost in writing, photography, art, scrapbooks, reading and cooking.

And for those who are in need of a fix in the office, try walking round the block, or finding a quiet spot for lunch and sitting and relaxing or listening to your ipod.

It doesn’t matter what the strategy is, you just need to make sure you have something that you can always rely on to fix a bad mood, distract you from anything that’s bothering you at the time and move your thoughts to a new and positive state of mind. Don't stay stewing.

So think about it now. What do you turn to when you need a break to unwind and recharge?

Photograph by Reza Vaziri (Flickr)

6 May 2008

How to Eat in Restaurants When You're On A Diet

Eating in restaurants or hotels, or buying takeaway food needn’t mean the end of your diet. You can eat healthily in restaurants and when you're ordering take outs - you just need to know what to eat and what to miss.

So, What Are The Rules When I'm.......

Dining Out

1. Read the menu well - don't just scan it for the most delicious thing you can see.
Act like a celebrity and don't be afraid to ask how meals are cooked.
2. In general, choose lean meats, fish and poultry and ask for them to be grilled, roasted or baked rather than fried or sautéed. 
3. Opt for steamed, boiled or roasted vegetables and salads. Avoid frying - if your vegetables have been fried, they are no longer much use to you (fries, tempura etc)
4. Always ask for sauces to be served on the side and to ask for a little olive oil or lemon on salads rather than dressings, which can be very fatty.
5. Look for tomato and vegetable based sauces rather than those made with cream or cheese.
6. If rice or noodles are on the menu, pick boiled or steamed rather than fried or pilau varieties. A serving of boiled rice has 0.47g fat. A portion of pilau rice has 7g fat!
7. It’s often very healthy to opt for fish or chicken and salad or vegetables. If you are vegetarian look for bean, nut, chickpea, egg or lentil options (and try not to just have cheese based meals).
8. Hotel breakfasts can be a challenge – but having a poached or boiled egg on whole grain bread is a good option – perhaps with some fruit juice or a piece of fruit. Otherwise, a low sugar cereal or muesli with a natural yogurt is a healthy option.

...Having A Take Out

1.Chinese, choose starters such as the grilled dumplings and opt for vegetable based sauces and vegetarian or low fat main courses e.g. chicken/bean curd in black bean sauce or noodles, bean sprouts and courgettes in a spicy sauce. For desserts try fresh fruit such as lychees. Try to avoid deep fried options such as fried pancake or spring rolls, banana fritters as well as egg-fried rice.
2. Indian it's best to pick tomato and onion sauces or dry cooked dishes e.g. tandoori or opt for vegetarian options with lentils and boiled rice. Try to avoid fried options such as bhajis, samosas and fried rice and rich creamy sauces e.g. kormas.
3.Thai avoid deep fried starters and always choose a vegetable side dish. A fish option is a healthy choice or a chicken and vegetable dish. Coconut milk is a saturated fat – so avoid having multiple dishes with a rich coconut sauce.
4.Italian, choose pasta dishes with vegetable and tomato based sauces or fish with vegetables or salads. If you are having pizza opt for vegetarian pizzas and salads. Generally try to avoid pasta with creamy or cheese sauces or pizzas with lots of cheese or cooked fatty meats. If ordering pizza, it's best to opt for vegetarian pizzas and order a salad.

Photograph by paper or plastic (Flickr)

2 May 2008

Banish Bingo Wings & Polish Those Guns

Summer is fast approaching and it’ll soon be time to dust off those summer outfits and…wait for it…bare your arms. This can be a traumatic time for men and women.

Ladies worry about whether or not the backs of their arms are going to wobble as they go about their daily routine. This common ailment, known rather unflatteringly as bingo wings, bat wings or dinner lady arms, can rock the confidence of even the most outgoing of individuals.

For men the concern is with the biceps, known in bodybuilding circles as ‘the guns’. And, for most, size really does matter and if there’s no bulk, shape or definition then you might as well keep that shirt on.

The way most people tackle their concern with their arms is to get into the gym and do lots of either tricep extensions for the back of the arms (that’s you ladies) or bicep curls for the front of the arms (that’s for all the wannabie Arnies). Not that there’s anything wrong with these exercises, just that it’s not the quickest way to the best results.

Here's a fitness tip that will help:
The muscles of the arms are relatively small so don’t work on them in isolation. Try exercises that work other bigger muscle areas at the same time, for example

  • press ups work the chest and the front of the shoulders as well as the triceps
  • pull ups work loads of muscles across the back as well as the back of the shoulders and the biceps.

That way you’ll tone other parts of your upper body that will look great in summer and at the same time you’ll be increasing your overall muscle mass (without looking like a bodybuilder) which will help to raise your metabolism and to burn fat.

And of course, don't forget the fat burning exercise. There’s no point having toned arms if there’s a layer of fat covering your muscles so don’t just concentrate on strength training, mix your workout up with some cardio intervals by running, cycling or rowing between exercises.

Go forth bravely and bare those killer arms of yours!

1 May 2008

When is the perfect time to exercise?

What time of day is the best to exercise? For most of the people I know, finding time to exercise at all can be a challenge so I think restricting yourself to a particular time slot can be a real problem.

Let's get the myth out of the way first.

Morning Exercise is the Most Effective

Some people believe that working out first thing in the morning is best....but only if you're a morning person. If you aim to workout first thing but you know you’re terrible at getting out of bed then the pressure of missing your slot can leave you feeling miserable and dejected, often so much so that you don’t get around to exercising at all that day. Fat doesn't burn at twice the rate in the morning and muscles don't appear more pronounced then either.

As for the rest of the day..
Lunchtime Run
Others favour the lunch time workout because you get it done without having to get up at 6 and its over by the end of your working day. Its super convenient but time restrictive.

End of the Day / After Work
Probably the most common time of day for gym visits and many consider this the optimum time to exercise when everything else is done and out of the way. The only difficulty here is that for many people, ‘everything else’ is never done and so by the time they get around to thinking about their workout, it’s too late. There’s just time for something to eat and then bed.

The truth is that any workout is better than no workout and that an exercise session you can focus on without distraction will bring you greater results than any exercise session dictated by the hands of the clock. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your workout - whatever the time:

Morning workouts
When planning morning workouts, consider what you’re doing the night before. Obvious, but don't make it harder on yourself by going to bed really late as you'll only suffer when the alarm goes.

Make sure you drink some water and eat a little something before you exercise. Working out on an empty stomach does not bring optimum results. For the best early morning fat burn, eat a portion of fruit and drink a small cup of black coffee with a cup of water.

Lunchtime workouts
Squeezing these in can be difficult but is easier if you view a lunchtime session not as a distraction from your other commitments but as a way of setting yourself up to be more effective for the second half of the day.

Plan your morning snack, post workout snack and afternoon snack carefully on the days that you exercise as this will keep your energy levels high and save you time.

Evening workouts

If you plan to exercise in the evening you need to decide well in advance what time you want to be at the gym and then work backwards to establish when you need to finish work and how you need to structure your day in order to leave at that time. If you leave it too late, you'll end up having to leave it all together.

Time your evening session so that you can wind down afterwards. Ending your workout 90-120 minute before bedtime is great as the post-exercise cool-down matches the body cooling process prior to sleep so a quality workout will help you get a better sleep if you time it right.

Photograph by lyle58 (Flickr)