With summertime and sun holidays beckoning, a very familiar fear has begun to set in. That is of course, the fear of baring pasty winter skin on the beach.
Magazines are flooded with 'get your body bikini ready' features, accounts of juice cleanse detoxes are rampant online and everyone seems to have the answer to shaping up in time for summer.
In my experience, the only thing that really works long-term, outside of faddish diets and exercise trends, is good old-fashioned hard work and clean eating. It's a tough pill to swallow as everyone wants the quick fix, but if you're dedicated and passionate about getting in shape, it's worth the slog.
I started training at Body Rock Performance in Sandymount, a gym run by personal trainer Paul Moran, last summer in a bid to tone up before a holiday, and I haven't looked back.
The classes, which take place both indoors and outdoors, run for about an hour and consist of targeted interval training concentrating on specific muscles for each exercise. Interval training, which involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with rest, has been recognised as the most effective way to increase fitness. It also burns more calories over a short period of time than steady-state cardio and continues to burn calories after your workout.
Each class at Body Rock is different, and often concentrates on specific areas – such as dreaded leg days, which consist of a lot of lunges and squats, or arms and abs, which involve a lot of weight exercises.
To mix in a bit of cardio, Paul and Stephen sometimes use the dreaded 'Prowler', a weighted fitness sled often used in rugby training which will have your legs screaming within seconds. Periods of sprinting are also sometimes interspersed into the class to give an all-round workout that have you feeling fantastic, and more than a little relieved, once it's over.
Although training at Body Rock is far from easy, it is an incredibly effective, and dare I say, fun way to tone up. When I initially started taking the classes, it took just two weeks to see changes, and you can also get your body fat ratio measured at the gym so you can keep on top of your progress. In contrast to a lot of gyms, the atmosphere is fun, inclusive and good-natured, which spurs you on to work hard and see great results.
You can also have your diet and nutrition analysed at Body Rock to see where you might be going wrong in that area, which is often the main hurdle people come up against in their bid to lose weight and get in shape.
As an added bonus, you can try out your first session at Body Rock for free to see if it's suited to you. Email email@example.com for more information.
You can visit Body Rock's Facebook page here.