If you’re looking to reset your health and fitness routine for fall, A-list trainer and bestselling author Louise Parker is here to help.
“There are tricks of the trade that people can do after the summer and after the holidays, to give themselves a bit of a redo,” the UK. based mom-of-three, tells PEOPLE. “Perhaps they’ve been flying or overeating or drinking too much. I think it’s normal to put on a couple of kilos after [a summer holiday].”
The author of The Louise Parker Method: Lean for Life books helps people reach and maintain their goal weight through 6-week and 12-week programs, which follow her four-pillar approach (think successfully, eat beautifully, exercise intelligently and live well). The @figuremagician also suggests ways to jumpstart your routine in just two to three weeks.
“People want to feel better in a couple weeks. It may not be a total body transformation, but they want to feel better,” says Parker who helped Emma Thompson drop two dress sizes. “The good news is that you can make a difference in that time. You’ve got to put your full energy into it. You’ve got to go for it. A little bit of determination for a couple of weeks is good because it puts your habits back in place.”
Here are Parker’s tips to getting back on track in two-weeks time:
Cut out all the junk food.
“I mean all of it. I think it’s easier to [totally cut out] sugars than to dabble with it here and there,” says Parker. “On a longer program, we’d ok a slice of birthday cake or whatever it is, but if we’ve got two weeks, we don’t have time for it. Swerve around all alcohol, sugars and junk. You’ve got to look at it as: if you don’t smoke, you have to look at that stuff like you would a cigarette. I don’t smoke, I don’t do that. Dig your heels in for those two weeks … within three days it gets easier.”
Get savvy about hidden sugars.
Parker talks about being “organically overweight.” “People will say, ‘I’m doing clean eating and I’m gaining weight. What the heck is going on?’ I think this is where people can really go wrong. [For example,] they are eating energy bowls made of dates and honey. Those foods are natural and nutritious and they may be organic and gluten-free. If you’re feeding them to your kids, or you’re using them to maintain your weight, they are absolutely fine. But if you’re trying to drop a few pounds, it’s still sugar. If your body doesn’t need it or it can’t burn through it, it’s going to end up on your backside. Check the label and save yourself any misconceptions. It’s one thing to know you’re eating a candy bar, but it’s absolutely soul destroying when you’re putting in a major effort eating gluten-free and organic [and still putting on weight].
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Watch the salt…
You need salt in your diet … it’s dangerous to eliminate it completely, but it’s a really good idea to keep an eye on salt,” says Parker. [Start by] using half the amount of salt you normally would and check the labels of anything that is processed and not a natural food. You probably want to avoid anything in a packet because the reality is that they have to put salt in it to sustain its shelf life. [Too much salt] will make your limbs appear puffy and you’ll look bloated. If I’m getting someone ready for awards season or an event, two to three days before we reduce the salt intake. It’s incredible the difference it makes by just getting the salt out and increasing the hydration. Your body will get rid of that waterlogged tissue.”
… and drink plenty of water.
“Aim for about three liters of water a day,” suggests Parker. “But don’t go bonkers about it. It can be dangerous and lead to hyponatremia.”
Follow a food plan.
“Get your mindset on the good, healthy foods that you like to eat; don’t focus on what you can’t have,” says Parker. “Eat three meals a day and two snacks. Aim for each meal to have good dose of protein, which stabilizes your blood sugar levels, hormones and your appetite, fruit or seasonal vegetables and a little bit of healthy fats.”
“If you want results quickly, I would say, aim to work out every day you possibly can. I have a little mantra: pay your daily rent,” says Parker. “If you do a little something – and it can be four minutes or forty minutes – everyday, you’re just reminding your brain of your habit, which soon will become part of who of you are. If you want to make a difference in two or three weeks, you’ve got to put something into it. Those four minutes are not going to cut it, but it doesn’t have to be long. It can be thirty minutes. The reality is if you’re not in the mood and do thirty minutes, the likelihood is it will turn into forty minutes or even an hour.”
Parker offers two exercises to get you started:
Squats on Fire
1. Stand with your feet wide apart and sit back into a squat with thighs parallel to the ground. Ensure your knees do not cross over your toe line. Your hands should be clenched a the center of your body.
2. As you stand up, really push through the left heel and extend your right leg into a side-kick, pulsing up and down at the top for 5 slow repetitions.
3. Lower your leg and sit back down into the squat, preparing to push up again through the opposite heel.
4. Repeat with the left leg and continue alternation until you have completed a full minute.
Slim Side Lunges
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step your right food wide to the side. As you drop into a lunge, reach with your left hand to touch your right foot. Don’t allow your right knee to extend beyond your tow line. Focus on keeping your chest lifted and your weight in the heels of your feet.
2. Now push into your right foot to return to a standing position, then repeat the lunge on the opposite side. As always, remember to keep your core engaged. Keep alternation until you’ve completed one minute.