Get in shape for summer

Personal trainer Ronan Graham of Ocean Fitness in the Salthill Hotel reveals his top tips for health and fitness.

Q. When is the best time of day to train?

A. Ideally in the morning, but this doesn't suit many people, so whenever you are least likely to back out of your session. Be realistic about when you are going to train — if you never have energy after work then don't set that as your time to work out; and the same applies for the morning.

Q. How often should I train?

A. This depends on what you want to achieve, but if you want to keep healthy and manage your weight then a minimum of three times per week, while staying active in the meantime. It's no good putting your heart and soul into three hours of work in the gym per week, and then sitting watching soaps the rest of the time. We need at least 45 minutes of activity per day.

Q. I'm going on holidays in eight weeks and I want to get beach ready, where do I start?

A. Get your diet in order, for the majority of people it's 70 per cent diet and 30 per cent activity, and you just cannot outrun a bad diet. Get some HIIT (high intensity interval training ) classes in at the gym, these have a great effect on the metabolism and figure.

Q. Why do all trainers insist on doing weights?

A. Whether you are old or young, weights and/or resistance training have a very positive effect on the body, including less fat, an increase in bone density, and an increase in connective tissue, muscle, and tendons. These all lead to a better posture and help keep you injury and pain free. So yes, weights keep the bingo wings at bay, but don't worry, you are not going to turn into Arnie, so get started.

Q. What is your favourite exercise?

A. Squats, weighted or body weight, and all the variations, there are very few exercises that give you so many benefits in terms of strength, flexibility, and balance. It also helps with trunk [core] strengthening.

Q. What supplements should I be taking?

A. As long as you have a good quality broad diet there is very little I would recommend. Possibly vitamin D in the winter and spring months. It is a good idea to get your bloods checked once a year by your GP; this will give you a good indication of whether or not you need a supplement due to a deficiency, eg, vitamin B or iron, or even too high a level in your bloods.

Q. My son is 13 and plays rugby, he wants to start doing weights. What should I do?

A. Get him to start with body weight exercises first — squats push-ups, sit-ups, body rows, lunges, the list goes on. When he has mastered these get him to an experienced trainer who trains adolescents, who can create a short programme for him. Weights are not difficult to do, but they are also not difficult to do wrong. Start him off on the right foot.

Q. What is your favourite class?

A. Tabata, 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, over three minutes and 50 seconds. Short and simple high intensity interval training. Great for the metabolism, it has been shown to burn more than 720 calories in 50 minutes at full effort, and there are tons of exercises you can do, so you never get bored.

Q. What do you do to keep fit?

A. Besides teaching and participating in classes in Ocean Fitness, I cycle a lot. I take part in different adventure challenges throughout the country, from Gael Force to Quest Killarney adventure race, and also The Race Donegal. I also enjoy crossfit, which touches on every form of fitness training.

Q. What is the one piece of advice you would give to stay healthy and fit?

A. Move, every day, regardless of what you are doing. Get out and get active for at least 45 minutes, whether it's walking to and from work or going to the gym, do something you enjoy. Too many people have sedentary lifestyles nowadays, and it's leading to poor health. Moving is free, the healthcare you will need if you don't stay active is not.

Ocean Fitness membership is currently at full capacity.

The Salthill Hotel is the ideal location for health and wellness seminars/conferences and meetings with a focus on team building. For more information contact 091 522711.

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