Danni certainly knows how to stay in shape

Danni certainly knows how to stay in shape

We're at the end of the month, chances are people are flagging on their New Year fitness/healthy eating kick. What would be the first thing you would say to them to help motivate them?

Fitness is for life, not just after Christmas. If you embark on a fad diet or extreme exercise plan, you’re almost definitely setting yourself up for failure. Short-term deprivation is definitely not the key to life-long loveliness. If you feel you’ve tried and failed, take a step back and find something you enjoy doing that gets you moving. Taking up tennis or salsa is just as beneficial to the body as pounding the treadmill for hours on end. Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals, because this only means unrealistic results.

When it comes to diet, you need to be honest with yourself as to what you can and can’t sustain long-term. Without a doubt, the most effective thing you can do is to eliminate sugar from your diet entirely. Cut out all foods containing added sugars and don’t be fooled by natural looking packaging. When it comes to carbohydrates, don’t attempt to eliminate them, but switch to whole grains and avoid processed foods. With a little patience, these simple changes will help the pounds fall off and stay off for good.

What other motivational tips do you have? 

If you’re trying to regain your old shape, whether that’s the figure you had in college, or before you had children, just stop. The old you is not the new you. Our bodies change, adapt and develop throughout our lives and it’s a NEW body you need to work towards or maintain, not your old shape. Nine times out of ten, those who try to go back in time just end up feeling deflated. Instead, learn to appreciate the parts of your body you like NOW and look to the future.

For someone who is just beginning to work out, what exercises would you suggest that they begin with?

The most important factor for anyone who’s new to exercise is identifying something they enjoy doing. It’s no good ‘running because you think you should’ or ‘cycling because you’ve been told it kills calories’. Whether you’re old or young, tall or short, big or small, there’s a form of movement out there you’ll enjoy. When people come to me and say: “I find it hard to lose weight because I just hate exercise,” I explain to them exercise is simply ‘movement’. Nobody can claim to hate moving! So find a form of movement you enjoy, whether that’s dancing, skipping, team sports or swimming and make it a fun and functional part of your new, healthier life.

If you decide to take a more structured approach and join a gym, be sure to build some resistance exercises into your workout to help build lean muscle and burn fat. If you’re female, don’t worry, this won’t cause you to bulk up. Weight bearing exercise is the most effective way to change your shape for the better. 

Obviously there are a lot of celebrity and other fitness DVDs out there, are there any in particular you would suggest for people to invest in?

This largely depends on your age and co-ordination. If you enjoy dance and find things easy to pick up, the Tracy Anderson DVD is great fun. Davina’s DVDs are also great fun and a little easier to follow. 

What are your workout essentials?

1)    Top of my essentials list would have to be my trainers. Most people ‘get on’ well with a certain brand and stick to it. Personally, I find Nike trainers suit my feet.

2)    If you’re planning a workout, it’s also a great idea to have an up-beat playlist at the ready on your ipod. Exercising to music is much more fun!

3)    Invest in a good sports bra. I love the Nike crop tops and also the Sloggi range. This is an absolute essential for women.

What sort of fitness trends are you predicting for 2012?

I’m seeing a move towards functional training for 2012. Functional exercise incorporates movements that force the body to operate in a way which nature intended. This means a move away from fixed weights machines and towards equipment like core bags and kettle bells that encourage compound exercises. It’s also becoming increasingly fashionable to exercise outdoors. A number of celebrities have been pictured sweating it out in the park lately, so why not grab a friend and join them?

People often say that they don't have time to work out, what would you say to them? What sort of tips would you give to them?

This brings me back to what I was saying earlier about exercise simply being a ‘form of movement’. You don’t have to run a marathon to benefit from getting your body going. Everybody has time to move, so simply incorporate something a little more challenging than walking across the office floor into your weekly routine. Aim to take your body into at least a ‘slightly breathless’ state 3-4 times per week for 30-40 minutes.

What would you say are the best exercises for targeting the following areas, back, arms, stomach and legs?

Back: A lot of people who are new to exercise tend to overlook their backs. This is a huge mistake, as strengthen the back muscles helps to improve posture, which can take pounds off your appearance instantly. Try the seated row, or if you’re not a gym member, use a resistance band secured around something to perform a rowing action. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a decline row using a TRX?

Arms: The classic bicep curl using dumbbells or a barbell has always worked for me when it comes to keeping my biceps in check. With regards the tricep muscles (more commonly known as our bingo wings), as daunting as it sounds, push-ups are really the best way to keep the backs of your arms in shape. What’s more, you’ll also be training your core muscles at the same time. Begin by mastering a half push up on your knees, and gradually work up to a full push up.

Stomach: Most people think of their ‘sick pack’ muscle when it comes to the quest for a washboard stomach. However, it’s actually a hidden muscle called the transverse abdominis, which is responsible for helping our tummies to stay flat. Practice lying leg raises, horizontal cable chops and reverse crunches with full leg extension to help target these muscles.

Legs: Without a doubt, squats and lunges are the best way to shape not only the legs, but also the glutes (bum). Ideally, perform these on a smith machine, but if you’re not a gym member, you can get fantastic results at home by doing reverse lunges off a step/stair and engaging in dumbbell or unweighted squats alternated with jump squats. This will also provide you with a super cardio workout.

Danni Levy, celebrity trainer, is currently featured in the Sky Living TV series Bigger Than in the Bigger Than Britney episode and Bigger Than Katy Perry which will TX on 8 February.  She also hosts her 5 Star Boot Camp in Marbella, which promises to help you drop a dress size in seven days. Why not take a look if you want a week of hard work with amazing results: 5starbootcamp.com

Femalefirst Taryn Davies

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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