The question I'm most frequently asked at this time of the year is, "Have I left it too late to have any reasonable chance of fitting into my togs?" My usual response, "How about just feeling good about making the decision to do something about it". And the comeback is always the same, "Never mind about feeling good - that'll come when I like what I see in mirror!"

The fact is, in many people's minds how their body looks is the primary motivation behind getting off the couch and doing something about it.

So, is it too late to fit into your togs? Not if you follow the right process: a good dose of high intensity strength training (HIT), small, frequent mini meals, lots of water to superhydrate your system and rest.

Here it is, in more detail:
1 Get in to high intensity strength training (HIT). It's never failed me and it won't you either. It's one of the most powerful forms of exercise when it comes to the afterburn effect. Doing a whole body HIT workout can burn as much as 800 additional calories every week over and above the workout itself. So you get more bang for your buck. Furthermore, it's the most productive way to recapture lost muscle and strengthen it after the winter hibernation.


2 Eat small meals more often. Large meals of several hundred calories (700 to 1000) stimulate excessive insulin production and insulin is your body's most powerful pro-fat hormone. Small meals induce smaller insulin responses. Therefore, for improved fat loss consume five smaller meals with none exceeding 600 calories. Keep your meals small and your fat loss will be large.

3 Drinking your fat away. If you don't drink enough water, your body's reaction is to retain what water it does have. As a result, your liver's ability to metabolise stored fat into usable energy is compromised. In order to facilitate fat loss, you must drink more water than you're probably used to. Start off with 1.5 litres and progress to anywhere between two to three litres a day. By the way, if you're in any doubt about the amount of water you should consume, play it safe and check with your medical professional.

4 Reduce stress and rest. When going on a reduced-calorie diet to drop weight, it's easy to do too much exercise. Too much exercise will over-stress your body and it will immediately start holding on to fat. For maximum fat loss and muscle gain, exercise hard, briefly and infrequently and avoid stress. Try this and within a short time you'll see your muscles shaping up and fat dropping off. And you'll smile when you look in the mirror.

• Peter Rana is the founder of BodyTech Gym.

Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge training

A big decision on cycle challenge day is "what to wear"? You don't need any special cycling gear to enjoy riding but you do need to be warm and comfortable. Padded bike shorts help to make the seat bearable, a cycling jersey (top) is usually made from a breathable fabric and, as it's tight-fitting, it will minimise wind resistance. A light windproof and waterproof jacket is also a good idea and polyprop or merino under-layers are great for cooler days.

• Don't wear new clothes on event day - make sure they're comfortable and work for you.
• No knickers under padded bike shorts - they add to chaffing.
• Sunglasses to block UV rays, insects, dust and wind.
• Helmets are compulsory, make sure yours fits well.
• Always wear at least one top under your cycling jersey - this reduces abrasions if you come a-cropper.
• High vis and light colour clothes mean you're more visible.
• A good cycling top has two or three pockets at the back for food, money and keys.
• Cycling shoes with cleats make for efficient pedalling.Lianne Fraser

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