Fitness by Laura Williams

By Kay Lockett on May 10, 2011 11:45 AM |

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Get the look: Robert Pattinson

The star of Water For Elephants Robert Pattinson struggles with sticking to an exercise regime - he only hits the gym when a role requires it. So how best to pick up a gym habit?

Be confident. Just for an hour, shelve those misconceptions you have about your ability to see things through. Don your trainers, grab your bag and go. Train with someone who already has the exercise habit. Sooner or later some of their enthusiasm will rub off on you.

Stick to your plan. Ever had one of those days when you don't feel like exercising? You hauled yourself to the gym anyway and it turned out to be your best workout ever. Don't underestimate the mind-body connection: when the body says no, but the mind says go, just go (the body will catch up eventually).

Set a deadline. Write your goal and deadline somewhere visible where you'll see it regularly. On the days when you just want to hit the snooze button, it's good to remind yourself what your goal is and why you set it in the first place.

Exercise first thing.
When you've just had a tough day at work, it can be hard to add another tough hour onto an already tiring day. If you exercise first thing, not only will you get it out of the way, you'll also be more energised for the day.

Q&A
An instructor at the gym has advised me to reduce the amount of wheat I eat to help me lose weight. I love bread, but should I cut down?

Despite the bad press it gets, wheat or gluten is perfectly healthy for most people to eat. If you're genuinely concerned as to how you tolerate certain foods, you're better off asking a GP who can give you an accurate diagnosis with a blood test. As for the weight loss aspect, the instructor sounds like he or she is in some low-carb time warp.

Starchy foods like bread contain carbohydrate, which contain just four calories a gram yet provide you with lots of energy. In addition, the fibre in wholemeal bread will help keep you feeling fuller for longer, so the weight loss promise is unfounded. Make sure you stick to wholemeal bread, though.


Celeb experience

Former gym-hater and smoker, actress Katherine Heigl says that although she found exercise late in life, she can't imagine doing without it now: "I used to have back pain.

Suddenly, my body is supporting itself the way it's supposed to. I wake up and I go, 'My God, I can't believe this is my body!'" I'm not sure we all share Katherine's zest for exercise but yes, it can make you feel good.

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