With New Year’s resolutions of going to the gym now a hazy memory and beach season fast approaching, many around the Capital will be feeling the pressure to get in shape.
But with lots of us working longer hours and a baffling array of diets all promising magical results, it can be difficult to find the time to exercise and to eat well.
The latest idea in the mix is a new fitness regime which has already gained loyal followers down south and is offering solutions to both problems. As an added bonus, the organisers say it could also see your food bills shrinking – and help the local economy.
The Kick Start Fat Loss programme was invented by Rachel Holmes, a UK fitness instructor with 23 years’ experience who has also worked with stars such as former Spice Girl Mel B. Having already secured franchises all over England, the program has now spread to Northern Ireland and Scotland, with a new class starting in Edinburgh next week. Morag Hammond, 56, of Leith, is the person who’ll be showing how it’s done.
She said: “I’ve worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years and it’s very important to keep up to date with the latest types of classes and nutritional information, so I attend a lot of conferences. I met Rachel at one a few years back, and have since taken some of her courses, and that’s how I heard about Kick Start Fat Loss.
“With some weight loss classes quite often what you are really losing is water and muscle, whereas this program targets fat and helps you build muscle to burn fat more effectively.”
The shop local element is central to the diet plan.
Morag explains: “Too many people are relying on convenience foods that are full of sugar and additives. We want to encourage people to cook from scratch – raw ingredients are so much better for you.
“With this in mind, I’ll be getting in touch with local butchers, fishmongers and grocers to see if they are interested in partnering up – perhaps offering discounts to programme members in return for their loyalty. Rachel has already negotiated similar deals with produce suppliers down south and has found that it works really, really well for everyone.
“Even without discounts, it’s actually far cheaper to buy fresh, local produce than a lot of people think. Plus it’s a real boon to business in your own community.”
Kick Start Fat Loss is designed to fit into even the busiest of schedules, with users asked to set aside ten minutes a day for exercise and attend one 30-minute class a week.
Morag said: “The ten-minute workouts can be accessed online, leaving you free to chose when you exercise. Our workouts use a strategy called HIIT, which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. It sounds a bit scary, but in reality it can be tailored to suit any individual of any age at any level of fitness. Even if you don’t want to put a lot of pressure on your joints, that’s easy to work around.”
But to really see the effects of the programme, users will find themselves facing a “D” word many find synonymous with dread – detox.
Morag explained: “When I first heard about the detox I admit I did scoff. My immediate thought was ‘Cabbage soup for a month, is it?’. Thankfully, it’s nothing like that. It’s about trying to break the sugar habit. You may not think you have one, but it sneaks into a lot of products, namely white bread, pasta and rice. So we ask people to cut these out and eat more veg. We also advise cutting out dairy, tea, coffee and alcohol. It’s the last three that most people find daunting. Some people report headaches as a symptom of caffeine withdrawal.”
And those who can’t face the 28-day detox are advised to aim for 14 days to see if they feel the benefit. Morag adds: “By that point most people are feeling so good they chose to keep going!”
Kick Start Fat Loss classes make their Edinburgh debut at 6pm on Tuesday at The Halls in Henderson Street, Leith. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org