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Wanna Fit?, Follow These Tips

# Eat up

Make sure you’re properly fuelled up before you embark on a heavy cardio sesh. ‘You need enough energy to work hard,’ says Joslyn Thompson Rule, Nike Master Trainer and head PT at One Personal Training (onepersonaltraining.com). ‘You must be firing on all cylinders if you expect your body to be able to push itself.’

# Get fast ’n’ furious

Interval training can improve cardiovascular fitness by up to 13 per cent, according to a study by the University of Guelph. And the easiest way to get your sprint on is to follow the Tabata principle : 20 seconds of high intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. It’s over in a flash!

# Get on the wagon

That glass of red won’t up your cardio fitness. Alcohol leaves you dehydrated and nowhere near ready for a cardio workout, saysdrinkaware.co.uk.

# Be realistic

Don’t try to increase your time or distance by more than 10-20 per cent per week, or you may feel discouraged when the going gets tough – and risk injury. Set achievable goals to maintain your morale.

# Vary it

Mixing up your routine is key. ‘If you do the same thing all the time, your body gets used to it, reducing the training effect,’ says Joslyn. ‘Changing things up every three to six weeks will be enough stimulus to continue getting results from your training.’ So if you regularly run 5k, try cycling 10k instead – or give a combat sport like Muay Thai or kickboxing a go.

# Be consistent

One-off sessions won’t cut it, but don’t overdo it. ‘Try to do at least one intense cardio session a week, but no more than two, as your body needs to recover,’ says Joslyn. ‘Lighter cardio sessions – like a slow and steady run, bike or swim – once a week are good to balance out the more intense training.’

# Get high

Pushing your body to the limit at a higher altitude is fab for cardio fitness – and you don’t have to head to Kilimanjaro to reap the benefits. The Altitude Centre (altitudecentre.com) offers cycling and running classes in a specially designed altitude chamber, so you can push your limits without jetting halfway around the world.

# Weigh up

The weights room may not seem like the obvious place to work on your cardio. ‘People think you have to do one of the classic cardiovascular workouts, such as running, cycling or swimming, to increase cardio fitness,’ says Joslyn. ‘But exercises such as squat and press, lunges and step ups can all be taxing on the lungs.’

# Enjoy yourself

Slogging it out on the bike or treadmill may yield results, but it can be tough to push yourself to your max if you’re not enjoying it. Try boxing or sprinting against your friends in the park to raise the fun factor of your workouts.

# Take a break

‘There is too little emphasis on giving your body time to recover,’ observes Joslyn. ‘Your downtime is when your body reaps the rewards of your hard work. Taking the time to get sufficient sleep, eat well, stretch and do recovery sessions will pay big dividends.’