Discover superfoods and improve muscle tone and strength
Follow a six-week healthy living plan, tailored to your fitness level, and reap the benefits from day one
This third six-week plan aims to increase the intensity of your physical activities and help you learn more about which foods your body needs as fuel.
This week, you'll be focusing on 'super sizing' your vegetable portions. You're aiming for at least five a day to maximise the weight-loss and health benefits.
Fruit and vegetables have numerous health benefits. They can help protect your body against heart disease, cancer and the free radicals that cause ageing. They're good for your skin, eyes, blood, throat and lungs. They're also low in calories and help to quell hunger pangs.
If you haven't taken part in either of the first two programmes, or would like a quick reminder, take a look at the following articles:
- What is a portion?
- More about the health benefits
- The importance of variety
Five or more a day
Do you find it hard to reach the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day? Remember that cooked, tinned and dried fruit count towards this target, as do frozen and tinned vegetables and tomatoes used in sauces.
Five portions is the minimum amount you should have every day. Here are some ways to super size your fruit and vegetable portions:
- Add two or three handfuls of frozen peas into stews or meat dishes.
- Use tinned tomatoes in sauces.
- Keep a packet of dried apricots in the car for a snack.
- Add chopped banana to breakfast cereal or have it on toast.
- Make jelly using tinned peaches.
- Make healthy coleslaw with carrots, savoy cabbage, raisins, low-fat mayonnaise and lemon juice.
- Make a big pot of vegetable soup and freeze it in milk cartons for a quick meal on busy days.
- Stew rhubarb or plums with some sugar or sweetener. Serve with low-fat custard.
Add summer fruits or berries (fresh or frozen) to natural yoghurt.
When you do your food shopping this week:
Stock up on tinned, dried and frozen fruit and vegetables so you'll always have them to hand.
Pick up a fruit or vegetable you wouldn't usually buy and use it in a meal. If you're not sure what to do with it, put the ingredient in our recipe finder to get some suggestions.
This week, increase your 45-minute session to one hour. Continue doing the lunge on three days, the one-legged squat exercises daily and add a yoga-inspired move after each workout.
As last week, do two 40-minute interval sessions on different days, with a run/walk cycle of three minutes' running and three minutes' walking.
Again, do a 20-minute threshold session, and really step outside your comfort zone at a rate of perceived exertion of seven.
Finally, increase the remaining 45-minute session to a one-hour aerobic session of your choice.
Your week could look like this:
|1 x 40-minute interval session
||1 x 20-minute threshold session
||1 x 40-minute interval session
||1 x one-hour aerobic session
As well as having great physiological benefits, such as increasing blood volume, improving your muscles' ability to extract oxygen from the blood (due to more capillaries) and better fat utilisation, prolonged endurance exercise has a major impact on calorie expenditure and builds stronger, more durable connective tissue and muscles.
This yoga posture is a total-body exercise that strengthens the arms, back and shoulders and provides a deep stretch to the hamstrings, glutes, calves and back.
Add it to the end of your cool-down session after every workout.
Start on your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your fingers should be pointing forwards.
Tuck your toes under and lift your hips high so your legs are straight and your tailbone lifts. Keep your arms, legs and spine in line and your neck relaxed.
Press your heels into the ground and think about lengthening through the spine and taking the weight on to your hands and feet.
Hold for 20 seconds, relax and repeat twice.