This week I’m sharing a beginner’s full body workout. Recipe wise, I’ve got two simple, delicious and healthy sauce recipes.
This time of year is perfect for anyone looking to start, or restart, on their health and fitness journeys, the little bit of leftover New Year’s motivation combined with the onset of spring and the longer evenings makes getting out for a run or hitting the gym after work seem that little bit more appealing.
When it comes to finding workout and fitness inspiration, many of us go online but it can feel intimidating and unrealistic for those who have little experience with training.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some back to basics exercises. These are a great place for beginners and also for anyone wanting to work on improving their technique.
I believe building a solid base is key before you try to progress with added weight or increased difficulty of exercises, especially from an injury prevention point of view.
I’ve given a detailed explanation of how to perform each exercise so you can nail the basics and feel confident once you decide to hit the gym or take a class. Enjoy!
Start with feet about shoulder-width apart and toes turned out slightly. Aim to sit down and back as if you are going sit on a chair. Keep your head and chest up for good posture. Keep your knees pushed outwards to avoid unnecessary strain on them. Once at the bottom of your squat, engage your glutes and legs and drive back up to standing position, avoiding fully locking out the knees. Aim to do three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Stand up straight, with your feet together, placing your hands on your sides. Keep your chest up and shoulders back. With your feet still together, step one foot forward into a lunge position. Bend both knees to around a 90-degree angle. As you place your foot on the floor in front of you, make sure your knee is in line with your ankle. The back knee should also be just above the floor. Make sure your knees don’t roll in or out, then drive and push up out of the lunge until both feet meet together again. Repeat on the other leg. Aim to do three to four sets of eight to 10 reps on each leg.
Hip hinge with hand resistance (Romanian deadlift)
Bend at the hips keeping your back flat and your legs slightly soft but not too bent. Lower yourself down until you feel a pull on your hamstring. Keep your core engaged. Using your legs and glutes, drive back up to your original position. Aim to do three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Push-ups from knees
Start in a half plank position. Bend your arms until your elbows are at a right-angle while lowering your chest towards the floor. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position. Aim for a straight line from your head to your knees and keep your core engaged throughout. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position and repeat. Aim to do three to four sets of six to eight reps.
Lie on your back, arms outstretched, and raise your legs to a 90-degree angle. From here, apply pressure with the opposite hand to the knee. Extend your free arm and leg away from the body, ensuring you exhale as you extend away and push your lower back into the floor. Aim to do three sets of eight reps each side.
If you are further along on your fitness journey and want to challenge yourself a bit more then you can:
1. Add extra weight, for example, try using a barbell for your squats or some dumbbells for your lunges.
2. Make the exercises more complex for example try a single leg Romanian deadlift or a full push up.
Rhiannon Lambert (BSc MSc ANutr) is Harley Street nutritionist specialising in Weight Management, Eating Disorders and Sports Nutrition. I love her evidence-based approach to food and food philosophy is grounded in scientific evidence. Her new book Re-Nourish is packed with easy to understand information and lots of gorgeous recipes.
This is an amazing recipe to have up your sleeve. It’s simple to make and perfect for cooking in big batches and freezing.
Here are my favourite ways to use it are:
As a pasta sauce served with some basil and parmesan
As a base for fajitas by adding some fajita seasoning, chicken breast and sliced pepper
To make a delicious chilli by adding minced beef, chilli powder and kidney beans.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: 1.5L approx.
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1tbs tomato puree
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1L tomato passata
1 tsp honey
Salt & pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot & celery and fry for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the other ingredients. Simmer over a low heat, with the lid on, for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if the sauce is too thick. Enjoy straight away and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
Spicy Peanut Satay Sauce
This takes litte time to prepare and is super versatile.
I love to add a spoonful of the sauce to some soy, garlic, honey and lime juice for a delicious stir fry base or try marinating chicken pieces in it overnight for satay skewers.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes: 1L approx.
1tbs coconut oil
½ an onion, finely chopped
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated
4 cloves garlic, finely grated
1tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbs medium curry powder
1 tin light coconut milk
500 ml water
3tbs good quality peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
Heat the coconut oil in a large pan. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, or until soft.
Add the ginger, garlic, chilli flakes and curry powder and continue to cook fry for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and water and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring well to combine the ingredients. Stir in the peanut butter and serve!