With summer holidays in sight it’s time to tone up and get fit again. Susan Griffin looks at the incredible new fitness regimes, which guarantee quick results…
RAISING THE BARRE
Thanks to Natalie Portman’s Oscar winning performance in Black Swan, ballet is firmly back in the spotlight. Following the dance postures provides an amazing way to burn calories and tone up, tempting fitness fans back to ballet classes.
“Unlike athletes honed for one particular activity, dancers are designed to move fast, slow, turn and jump, the whole repertoire of movement, so classes are designed to systematically awaken and support all the muscle groups,” says Isabel McMeekan, former First Soloist for the Royal Ballet who now runs Everybody Ballet.
If you attend a couple of classes a week, you can expect to see results within four to six weeks, you’ll soon feel muscles you didn’t know existed.
“During my first class, my teacher manipulated my arm into the correct position and I yelped it hurt so much! If you can get over the embarrassment of leaping from one end of the floor to the other while everyone else watches, it’s actually good fun.”
:: A seven-week course at Everybody Ballet costs £140.
Game consoles once suffered from couch potato connotations but things have moved on in the ‘gaming’ world and exercise now dominates the market.
Microsoft’s Kinect, used in conjunction with the Xbox 360, is one of the best around as it uses a sensor to track body movement, effectively putting you in a game. “I like the idea of working out at home. I wasn’t sure I’d contend with setting the equipment up but it actually proved pretty simple.
“The Zen options were great to do in the evening to unwind, while the Martial Arts class proved a real boost for the mornings. I also had fun playing the group-friendly games like hula-hooping with my housemates.”
Another great option is EA Sport’s fitness programme Active 2, £49, the home fitness programme that David Beckham has given the thumbs up. Available on PS3, Wii and Xbox, it includes a virtual personal trainer and over 70 exercises.
:: Kinect and Xbox bundle, £249, Tesco. Visit www.xbox.com, www.uk.wii.com and www.uk.playstation.com/ps3 for more information.
FROM HOLLYWOOD TO HOME
Tracy Anderson is responsible for the world’s most enviable bodies – Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakira and Courtney Cox to name just a few – and now the personal trainer is sharing her secrets in new book Tracy Anderson’s 30-Day Method, which comes with a useful DVD.
As you’d expect from the woman who whipped Madonna into shape, she pulls no punches, but she says if you follow her ‘method’ (which includes daily mat work, cardio and a healthy eating plan) for a month, it’s possible to reshape your body.
Also hot from the US is The Wave, a fitness system developed by cult brand The Firm, which includes a compact balance board, DVDs to follow and a detox plan to give you a kick-start.