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    6 Genius Fitness Hacks From TikTok Sensation Megan Shongwe

    We all know that taking care of our bodies is not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good, too. And who better to guide us on this journey to a healthier lifestyle than the TikTok sensation and fitness guru, Megan Shongwe? With over 5 million views on her videos and some groundbreaking fitness hacks, Megan is here to help us energise our bodies and minds.

    Did you know? Life hacks like #GymTok, which ranks third in South Africa, have an impressive 222 billion views.

    Life can be a whirlwind of work commitments and personal obligations, leaving us drained and with little motivation to hit the gym. But Megan’s unique approach to fitness is all about making it fun and enjoyable. She believes that a healthy lifestyle should be a joyful journey and we couldn’t agree more.

    READ MORE: 10 South African TikTok Fitness Accounts That’ll Give You ALL The Motivation You Need

    1. Schedule Your Workouts

    First up, Megan recommends treating your exercise sessions like essential appointments. We’re all busy, but if you want to make fitness a part of your life, you’ve got to plan for it. Block off specific time slots dedicated solely to exercise and stick to them religiously. This way, you’ll create a routine that’s hard to break.

    2. Consistency and Discipline

    Consistency is key when it comes to building those muscles and achieving your fitness goals. Megan suggests starting or ending your day with 45 minutes to an hour of exercise. Find a time slot that fits your schedule and make it non-negotiable. The results will speak for themselves!

    3. Office Stretches or Light Workouts

    If you’re stuck at the office all day, don’t fret. Megan has a solution for that too. Incorporate exercise into your workday by doing light stretches and going for short walks. These breaks not only improve your overall work functionality but also contribute to your overall health. A win-win, right?

    READ MORE: Here’s How To Make The Viral TikTok Green Goddess Salad

    4. Set Realistic Goals

    Megan swears by setting goals with specific timeframes. Having clear objectives keeps her motivated and on track. So, whether it’s running a certain distance or lifting a specific weight, setting achievable goals can help you stay focused and driven.

    5. Enhanced Mental Well-being

    Remember, a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about the physical gains. It’s also about your mental well-being. Exercise releases those fabulous “feel-good” hormones called endorphins. They’re like your body’s natural mood boosters, helping to alleviate stress, anxiety, and even depression. So, get moving and smile more!

    6. Improved Physical Fitness

    Embracing a healthy lifestyle has allowed Megan to discover her body’s incredible capabilities. She feels stronger, both physically and mentally, which has given her the confidence to tackle new challenges. It’s not just about looking good; it’s about feeling unstoppable!

    READ MORE: Um, People On TikTok Are Eating The Peels Of Fruit & Veggies – And They’re So Good

    TikTok Made Us Do It

    TikTok has become a hub for educational content and users are actively seeking tips and tricks in various categories, from food and beauty to life hacks, DIY and education. It’s a platform where you can learn, grow and be inspired to live your best life.

    Follow Women’s Health to get expert health advice, the latest fitness gear unboxings, #WHToughTalks and so much more. We can also recommend the #TikTokThatsHau hashtag. It’s a gateway to a diverse world of content, a wellspring of invaluable information and a portal to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion. More

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    How One Personal Trainer Lost 30kg – And Kept It Off

    Trying to lose weight is no easy feat. Almost everything you do comes into play, from working out, eating well and even sleep. But personal trainer Kelly Smith lost 30kg – and kept it off. Here’s exactly how.

    The gain

    At one point personal trainer Kelly Smith, 27, weighed 100kg. She felt uncomfortable in her body and out of place at work – where the super-fit roamed and reigned. “I was instructing people to do all these exercises: push-ups, burpees and thought to myself, ‘I can’t even do that myself’,” she recalls. “What kind of trainer am I when I can’t do anything physically myself? I chose this profession. I need to look the part.” These thoughts formed the impetus that pushed Kelly to pursue weight loss as a goal. To start, she already had access to a free gym membership as a trainer, so she followed the script she’d been handing out to countless clients. 

    But Kelly had a deep-seated penchant that she’d been cheekily avoiding – she loved junk food. She was convinced that she could out-train her diet of Coca-Cola and chips (a habit she’d honed since her tertiary days, where cheap chip rolls were easy to obtain and even easier to consume). During her studies, she’d tuck herself away and enjoy KFC away from prying eyes. Working in the health and fitness space made Kelly ashamed of her habit. “I thought, ‘If I train extra and don’t diet, it’ll be fine,’” she says.

    The change

    As a trainer, her eating habits hadn’t changed much and her fledgling efforts at the gym weren’t showing the results she’d hoped for. So, she enlisted the help of a trainer for extra motivation and found a nutritionist who could curate her diet. “I realised you kind of have to diet to get to where you want to be,” she says. 

    But it was a big change. The first to go? Sugary drinks. As a substitute, Kelly opted for sugar-free options and found healthier substitutes such as protein pumpkin doughnuts, instead of the refined kind. She also recorded everything she ate using a calorie tracking app and kept at it, through trial and error for two years. 

    Her training involved lots of weighted workouts and only 20 minutes of cardio. On top of that, she joined in on the daily HIIT classes she taught. “I think that’s what pushed me to get to my weight loss goal as fast as I did,” shares Kelly. 

    She would send her coach her data and, together, they built options into her menu. So, she could pick between a chicken salad for lunch or tuna and vegetables. They also built ‘fun foods’ into her diet: 200 calories that Kelly could play around with, so she didn’t feel too restricted. This often included chocolate protein bars, something she relished. “This made it enjoyable for me to not keep going back to my old habit of getting quick little takeaways,” she says.

    A new lease on life

    Now at her ideal weight of 70kg and having lost 30kg, Kelly feels fantastic. She also started competing in bikini fitness competitions and has gone on to become successful in her field – having won six gold medals, four overall trophies and even represented South Africa on the world stage. “It’s been a long journey with its fair share of downfalls and uprisings, but I feel it’s a story that a lot of women could be inspired by,” muses Kelly. 

    Kelly’s tips

    Find Substitutes

    “There are substitutes for everything that you like. Yes, it doesn’t taste the same, but spice it up a little and you’ll get there.” 

    Be Consistent

    “Anything is possible once your coach understands you, as well as your training and your eating habits.” 

    Be Accountable

    “I had someone that was checking my form for me, someone motivating me to get to all the things I needed and then in that, found a gym community.” More

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    5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Fitness Approach

    Five ways to get the most out of your workout, from losing weight and reducing stress to feeling great about yourself… 

    1. Phone A Friend

    Women are more likely to exercise if they do it with someone else, so joining a running or hockey club may be the motivational kick you need. “Women are excellent team players because they show a higher degree of cooperation,” says clinical and sports psychologist Dr Robert Heller. “At a critical moment, a woman is less likely to give up so as not to let the team down.” And once you get started, chances are you’ll go the distance.“Women pace themselves better,” says Liz Neporent, co-author of The Fat-Free Truth. “They’ll start at a steady pace and maintain it, whereas men start stronger and faster, then slow down sooner.”

    2. Add Resistance

    Women are naturally more flexible than men, which is one reason why we love yoga and Pilates. But too much flexibility can weaken your joints, especially if you’re slack on the strength moves. Signs that your stretching has gone too far: feeling pain or an ache in the joint rather than the muscle you’re stretching and taking years to develop enough flexibility to reach a specific position (if it takes that much work, your body just isn’t meant to go there). A regular programme of resistance training will keep your joints strong – and improve flexibility.

    READ MORE: 17 Foods That Fight Spring Allergies

    3. Upper-Body Matters

    Women tend to be all about losing fat and toning our lower bodies, which means we often minimise our upper-body work. However, a balanced upper and lower body is key for strength, bone mass and joint stability, not to mention overall tone and shape. So include strength training for your back, arms and shoulders two to three times a week. Choose a heavy enough weight that you feel fatigued by the last few of each set of eight to 12 reps.

    4. Feel Your Natural High

    Women are twice as likely to become depressed than men, probably because of a combination of factors such as hormonal fluctuations, low self-esteem and high stress.

    The good news

    Exercise, especially cardio, can keep these stressors at bay. “Completing a workout has a positive psychological impact and makes you feel better about your body,” says obesity researcher Dr Kelly Brownell. So whether you have the blues, PMS or simply had a stressful day, exercise will almost always make you feel better. “Aerobic exercises like walking or running are the best outlet for high stress,” says sports psychologist Dr Jack Raglin.

    How much should you exercise to enjoy these benefits?

    In one study, participants who did cardio workouts for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week felt less stressed and were less depressed over time.

    READ MORE: How To Lose 1kg A Week: Safe & Healthy Exercise & Nutrition Tips

    5. Sweat More, Lose Fat

    Life’s not fair. If a man and a woman both walk for 45 minutes at the same speed, on the same days, for the same length of time, the man will burn more kilojoules than the woman. That may be because he’s bigger, but it’s also because a woman’s metabolism is about 10 percent slower than that of a man the exact same size. In general, women also carry more body fat, as opposed to lean muscle, and have higher levels of oestrogen, meaning fat is more likely to settle on our hips and thighs. Plus, we have more fat-storing enzymes. This may make you want to throw up your hands and just give up on losing weight, but all it really means is that in order to lose fat and burn kilojoules, you just have to sweat a little more and a little harder.

    There are three ways to add to kilojoule burn

    “You can do long-duration aerobic activity, like walking or running for 45 to 60 minutes at a low to moderate intensity at least five days a week, or you can intensify your workout to save time,” says physiology professor Dr. Len Kravitz. For instance, you could move faster by, say, cycling at a race pace for 15 or 20 minutes daily.

    If you’re not up for the killer push, try interval training

    Alternate walking for five minutes with jogging for one minute, for 30 to 60 minutes in total. “Working at vigorous intensities, even for a few minutes at a time, revs up hormones that help your body burn more kilojoules during and after a workout,” Kravitz says. “You can burn an extra 80 to 120 kilojoules post-workout, which adds up to increased fat loss over months of regular exercise.”

    Can’t make it to your usual cardio session?

    Make up for it by moving throughout the day. A minute or two of extra movement here and there may not seem like much, but keeping your body moving can help with weight control.

    The bottom line

    Weight loss is a balance of energy intake and output, so these exercises need to be combined with a kilojoule-controlled healthy diet. More

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    How To Lose 1kg A Week: Safe & Healthy Exercise & Nutrition Tips

    Figuring out how to lose weight in a week is no mean feat, let alone how to lose 1kg a week. Perhaps you don’t know where to start, or you’ve done some research into the best diets and now feel overwhelmed. Working out what your goal is in the first place is an achievement, so to then turn to the plethora of conflicting information on the internet (including some incredibly suspect advice 👀 ) can make it seem impossible.

    Before we go any further, we want to get something straight: the 1kg you’re hoping to shed does not define you. It doesn’t define your worth and it doesn’t define your beauty. Fact. It’s vital you identify the reason you’re hoping to lose 1kg a week.

    Plus, why did you pluck 1kg as the number you’re aiming for? Get clear about your health goals and what benefits they could bring to your life.

    Next, get realistic.

    If you’re on a mission to better your body composition – lose body fat, build muscle and tone up – for health reasons, then spoiler: the route to success does not include fad and crash dieting, restriction or deprivation.

    Shrug off the detox tea ads and actively escape from the ‘fat burning’ supplements section of whichever shady internet site has you cornered – we’re about to lay down expert science-backed advice on how to lose 1kg a week safely.

    How many calories do you need to burn to lose 1kg?

    OK, let’s crunch the numbers and then we can get into the nitty-gritty of exactly what you should be doing for healthy weight loss per week.

    A pound of fat – fat is usually measured in pounds – is around 3,500 calories of energy. That means if you want to lose 1kg weight a week (a healthy and sustainable amount for most, although it’s not advised to shoot for more than this) you would need to create a 7,700 calorie deficit over the course of a week.

    Is losing 1kg a week healthy?

    Providing you go through the right guidance with a fine-tooth comb (starting with why you want to lose 1kg a week and if you’re in a position to do so in the first place) and follow it to a tee, yes.

    Losing 1kg a week isn’t going to be right for everyone, though – you simply might not have that amount of excess fat to lose in the first instance and so could end up underweight. Think about the reason you want to lose weight. Is it really going to make you any happier or healthier?

    The most important thing to say here is that there is no use in comparing your journey to another’s. Everybody is entirely unique and your results really do depend on your starting weight, activity levels, nutrition and sleep as well as other factors such as stress and hormonal fluctuations.

    Can you lose 1kg a week for multiple weeks?

    No matter your starting point remember, losing 1kg a week healthily is about remembering that not every week will be the same and trying not to get too stressed about it. Just focus on getting what you can right.

    Plus, while 1kg might be a healthy weight loss for a lot of women, keep it mind that it’s just a number. Aiming for 1kg per week for several weeks would require a lot of commitment (and may not actually be healthy!); leading your healthiest lifestyle possible will yield the right results for you.

    Also, if you’ve found that your health journey or healthy habits have been put on pause because of various work/life commitments, don’t stress. It’s easier said than done, we know, but give yourself the freedom to relax your goals slightly.

    Can you lose 1kg a week without exercise?

    You can – losing fat, amongst other factors, is mostly about creating an energy deficit so that your body will then use body fat for fuel. However, fat loss without muscle might not give you the results you’re after, nor will you reap the health rewards that exercise brings.

    For the healthiest body, a good plan can be to pair a nutrient-dense diet with regular strength training, like weightlifting, reformer Pilates or standard Pilates and cardio exercise that implements progressive overload. We’ll come on to the best way to do this shortly.

    Not only can you lose fat and build muscle with exercise, but there are also a myriad of other benefits to getting sweaty. According to the NHS, it’s medically proven that women who do regular physical activity have:

    Up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

    Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes

    Up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer

    Up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer

    A 30% lower risk of early death

    Up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis

    Up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture

    A 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)

    Up to a 30% lower risk of depression

    Up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

    Phew! That’s a lot of benefits. Not sure where to start? Let us guide you.

    How to lose 1kg a week with exercise

    Most experts agree that the best exercise to lose weight in a week is the one you actually do. It’s all well and good having a watertight plan, but unless you actually do it, it’s not worth anything.

    ‘Whether that’s sweating it out every day or a couple of times a week, it’s more important to focus on the quality of your workouts over their quantity,’ says PT Aaron Vine.

    With that being said, a plan that combines strength workouts to build lean muscle and high-intensity interval training – HIIT – sessions to burn fat, as well as low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio (walking, jogging) will suit you best.

    ‘Ultimately, the more muscle you have, the faster you’ll burn fat,’ explains Vine.

    Plus, let us all not forget that there are plenty of benefits of exercise beyond body composition. Everyone can reap rewards from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. And regular exercise can help manage or prevent many health issues including:


    High blood pressure

    Type 2 diabetes



    Many types of cancer


    It can also help boost your sex life. Yup.

    The best nutrition tips to support healthy eating

    Firstly, creating long-lasting healthy habits relies on taking everything in moderation – including moderation! That means not falling into the trap of cutting out entire food groups or believing that you’ll ‘eat this way’ until you lose the weight and then ‘go back to normal’. It might give you a quick fix and help you lose some weight in a week, but you’ll quickly regain it.

    Instead, focus on what you can add to your daily diet for health gains – like actually using your reusable water bottle and drinking more water more regularly.

    Here are five handy tips to get you on the right nutritional foot:

    1. Drink more water

    Aim for at least eight glasses a day. Feeling hungry? Drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes – it could just be thirst.

    2. Slow down your eating

    Research shows that the longer you take to chew your food, the less you will consume.

    3. Fill up with fibre

    Whole wheat bread, potato, nuts and grains will keep you feeling satisfied for longer.

    4. Slightly cut down your portion size

    By just a little. This will decrease your calorie intake while being easy to maintain.

    5. Eat high-protein meals

    Especially within 30 minutes of a workout. This will help you feel full for longer and aid muscle repair.

    What should you eat to lose 1kg a week?

    To figure out exactly how much you need to be eating to hit your body composition goals as well as stay satiated and happy – working out your macros might be a good shout. Not familiar with macros?

    It stands for macronutrients and breaks down food into three key categories of nutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fats. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve – lose, maintain or gain weight – how you manipulate your macros can be a serious benefit.

    For example, those looking to gain lean muscle might have a higher amount of protein in their diet compared to someone looking to gain fat, who might go heavier on the carbs.

    To figure out the perfect macronutrient split for you, use this handy infographic:

    If eating according to your macros is a step too far, focus on getting smaller things right. E.g. make sure each meal you eat contains protein or be more mindful about the snacks you’re scarfing between meals.

    When should you eat to lose 1kg a week?

    Meal timings are an individual thing. If your schedule has you getting up at 5 am some days and 11 am other days, you’re not going to stick to a hard and fast routine and everyone’s days are slightly different. That being said, there are some timings that could help you hit your goals if you’re on a 9–5 schedule from home.


    First thing after waking up

    Now’s the time to down some water – 500ml, in fact – according to a German study that found it boosted metabolism by 24% for 90 minutes afterwards. This is due to the fact your body must expend extra energy to bring the cold water down to your core temperature. Easy hack: pop a bottle in the fridge before you head to Bedfordshire so it’s ready for when you wake up.

    Before breakfast

    According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, getting a sweat on before you tuck into your morning bowl of oats might be the better choice if you’re trying to lose fat as you can burn nearly 20% more if you exercise in a ‘fasted’ state. ‘Your blood-sugar levels are low, so your body has to use fat as fuel for your muscles to work,’ says Dean Hodgkin, international fat loss and fitness expert.

    However, fasted workouts don’t work for everyone. Give it a go and see how it makes you feel and check out our guide to eating before a morning workout.


    This might only be for the stronger-stomached person, but breaking your fast with a lean protein – be it a turkey breast or a steak, even – could be the key to burning more fat and may well help you on your way to losing 1kg in a week.

    Research in the British Journal of Nutrition found eating high-protein meals such as meat and nuts at breakfast time led to a greater feeling of fullness. Try pairing a turkey breast with a handful of almonds – a great source of monounsaturated fat that helps to burn belly fat.



    Lunchtime might be the meal that it’s best to up the portion size, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity that found those who ate 40% of their daily calories from carbs and protein before 3 pm, dropped an average of 11% – compared with 9% of those who ate their biggest meal at dinner time.

    Lunch might also be the meal that it’s best to take your probiotic with. A study in the European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that taking the probiotic lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks reduced belly fat by a total of 4.6 per cent. Taking your probiotic mid-meal will also ‘boost satiety and the feeling of fullness,’ says nutritionist Carrie Ruxton.


    Rich in plant compound ECGC, green tea can promote the burning of fat. In fact, three cups a day could cut your weight by nearly five per cent, says a French study. Plump for matcha green tea powder – it can increase the body’s rate of calorie burn by up to 40 per cent.



    Best to dish up early, if you’re trying to lose fat, as the extra hours before bed not eating will help your body digest and get into a rest state before sleeping. To maximise fat loss, eat dinner early, then fast for around 14 hours until breakfast the next day.

    After dinner

    After you’ve had dinner, it could be beneficial to go for a 10-minute walk as light post-meal exercise can lower blood sugar and stop you from storing fat. If you don’t live somewhere where you can venture out safely and at a social distance of two metres to others then this yoga pose is also known to relieve indigestion: lie on your back with your hands on your knees, exhale and hug your knees to your chest; gently rock from side to side for 5-10 breaths.


    Those who consistently get poor quality of sleep are more likely to suffer major weight gain – so try to aim for at least seven hours each night to keep cortisol levels in check. ‘This [cortisol] hormone regulates appetite says trainer Christianne Wolff. ‘If it’s out of sync, you’ll never feel full,’ she explains. Please

    The takeaway?

    Before embarking on any “weight loss” plan get clear on why “weight” dominates your goal and don’t forget: weight is not a synonym for health.

    This article was originally published by Morgan Fargo & Birdie Wilkins on More

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    Boxing Training With Connie Ferguson

    Two-time South African and international boxing champion Xolisani ‘Nomeva’ Ndongeni, also Connie Ferguson’s boxing trainer of five years, meets our cover star twice or thrice a week for some scintillating boxing action at his gym, north of Johannesburg. “She already had a lot of interest in boxing when I met her. Her father was a kickboxer so boxing was easy for her to get into,” he says. He adds: “Connie’s always interested in perfecting her moves and getting her form right.” In short, Connie’s persistence (and commitment) is any trainer’s dream! 

    READ MORE: Connie Ferguson’s Favourite Strength Training Workouts

    A boxing rookie? Nomeva is quick to point out that unlike in conventional exercising, boxing doesn’t have one set move with a name. “In boxing training, we have combos where you have to listen closely to the trainer’s instructions in order to execute and have a basic understanding of the moves and posture required.”  So just how easy or difficult is it to master this sport? On the outside, boxing seems difficult but once you start practising it, it’s quite easy. “All you need is one or two sessions of learning the basics and you’re set,” promises Nomeva. 

    Describing the 53-year-old legendary actress as passionate and consistent, Nomeva says boxing training aligns with Connie’s goal — which is to tone her upper body. Below are a few general tips on boxing and some of the moves that keep Connie’s bod in tip-top condition. 

    Boxing Bennies

    Some people box to release stress or calm down from a hectic day (yes to therapy and fitness in one!), while some take up boxing for self-defence purposes. Whatever your reason, the benefits are immense. “Because you’re using your body,  legs, hands, legs, eyes and also engaging your core, boxing offers a full body workout with great cardio benefits,” shares Nomeva, who adds that it may seem like a waste of time or a game but it’s a fun way of training once you get the combos right.

    READ MORE: What is Pilates?: A Complete Guide for Beginners, Inc. 34 Exercises + 15 Best Online Classes

    Whether punching a bag, running circuits, sparring or practising your footwork, your body requires strength to execute each move. “Boxing also teaches discipline, independence and being able to adjust to so many situations,” adds Nomeva. When preparing for a fight as a professional boxer, you need to understand various situations and challenges and adjust accordingly. 

    Some Connie Flow Drill Combos To Try Below

    Known as a flow drill (see examples below) — or the combo that keeps our cover star in top shape as we’d like to think of it — it helps improve hand-eye coordination as well as reflexes. Flow drills tend to be lengthy, meaning they can also improve overall fitness levels. “Boxing drills allow you to learn a boxing skill or group of skills by repeating that skill or group of skills with a critical eye.  Boxing drills are about precision of execution, with speed of execution secondary to precision and technical accuracy. Lastly, the aim is to train the body and mind to work in a particular way under fight conditions,” according to

    A flow drill usually starts off with a basic combination, then builds up from there. For example, a 232 (cross/left hook/cross) would be the starting point, then more punches that expand the combination will follow.

    Our July/Aug 2023 cover star Connie Ferguson swears by the flow drill, with varying combos added to constantly keep her on her toes.

    READ MORE: 4 Postpartum Exercises That’ll Give You A Tighter Core

    Nomeva has been a professional boxer for 13 years. He is a two-time South African, world and international champion, as well as a three-time African champion. More

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    Walking For Weight Loss: Does It Work? Plus, 9 Tips To Get You There

    Sure, cardio, HIIT classes and extra-sweaty cycling sessions are pretty much known for helping you scorch calories and drop kilos…but honestly, can a girl ever just slow TF down? Does walking for weight loss actually work?

    We know that walking can drastically slash your stress levels, says Hannah Davis, personal trainer — and having less stress in your life absolutely makes it easier for you to successfully drop kilos. But what about walking for weight loss?

    Is walking good for weight loss?

    Yup—turns out, walking can definitely help you with your weight-loss goals. “It is important to have a mix of high-intensity and low-intensity workouts—like walking—for optimal and sustainable weight loss,” says Lindsey Corak, personal trainer. Plus, per one study, women who walked lost about 10% of their body fat after six months of consistent effort. According to another study, those who walked more appear to be thinner than those who do not. The study also concluded that more walking means more weight loss over a period of time.

    What are the benefits of walking?

    Since walking is a physical activity, any amount of it helps to bring down the burden of chronic disease, per one study. Plus, studies show that the more you walk, the lower the incidence of disease.

    Walking means you’re more likely to try some other physical activity, according to the same study.

    If you pick a scenic area, consider your mental health improved, according to one review.

    Since obesity can be genetic, Harvard scientists found that walking significantly reduces the impact of those weight-related genes.

    Walking protects your joints and can ease joint pain. It can even prevent joint pain from arising in the first place, if you walk around 8 to 11km a week. Easy.

    That said, there are some guidelines that will make walking for weight loss a hell of a lot more effective:

    1. Aim for at least 15,000 steps a day

    No matter your current step count, increasing it is totally possible. Davis recommends racking up 15,000 steps per day, seven days a week, to lose weight.

    “Don’t worry about slowly increasing your step count. Just go for it,” she says. While you shouldn’t kick up your intense workouts overnight, you can double up your step count quickly and it won’t stress your body and make you more prone to injury, she says.

    Another thing to keep in mind: consistency is key. You’re not going to get much benefit out of upping your step count one day and then letting it fall the next—instead, make it a constant routine (it’ll only get easier the more you do it, too).

    2. Track those steps with an app

    FYI: Your phone has a built-in step counter (just remember to keep it with you). But if you do want an app to help you track, try Under Armour’s Map My Walk (free; available on iTunes and Google Play). This walking app provides feedback and stats (like average pace) for every kilometre you log. Even better? Get a smartwatch for in-depth analysis of your walks, like heart rate values and oxygen uptake. These are both good indicators of how you’re faring in your weight loss journey.

    3. Try to go on three 20-minute walks each day

    How much do you have to walk a day to lose weight? Well, at least three 20-minute-long walks should help you reach your step goal so you can start shedding kilos, says Davis. In fact, research from George Washington University found that people who walked for 15 minutes after each meal had better blood-sugar control (which can crush cravings for more food after you just ate) than those who walked for 45 minutes at any point in the day. That means a lunchtime walk can prevent your normal 3 p.m. slump and the sugar cravings that go with it, she says.

    4. Opt for a 45-minute faster stroll three times a week

    Walking at an easy pace doesn’t necessarily get your heart rate up—which is essential for fat burning, says Corak. Prime fat-burning takes place when your heart rate is at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate. (Nail down your max heart rate by subtracting your age from 220—so a 30-year-old woman would have a max heart rate of 190 beats per minute.)

    If you don’t have a heart-rate monitor, think of your effort level on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being all-out like a sprint. You should aim for that six or seven and spend about 45 minutes at this intensity to burn fat, Corak says.

    5. Walk uphill a few times a week

    Upping the incline on the treadmill, walking uphill, or climbing a staircase will help you build more muscle, which increases your metabolic rate, says Davis. That will help you burn more calories even when you’re in your desk chair. Davis suggests adding incline intervals to your walks three days per week and steadily increase from there.

    Klein agrees that hills are the perfect way to turn up the intensity on your walk. “As the terrain goes up and down, you naturally adjust the intensity, and the body naturally emphasizes different muscle groups,” she says. It’s also an easy way to keep your body guessing, so you’ll step right over a weight-loss plateau.

    6. Add power-walking intervals to your routine

    To start increasing your calorie burn, add in some intervals, Klein says—and start short at first. After a 10-minute warmup, push your body to walk at an uncomfortable (but still sustainable) pace for 15 to 20 seconds at the start of every minute. Do that for 10 minutes, and then finish off with a 10-minute cooldown.

    Once you’re comfortable with those short intervals, pick up the pace for one-minute intervals to get your heart rate up and burn more calories, says Davis. After you start incorporating one-minute intervals into your regular walking routine, you can increase the pace and duration from there.

    Another tip: While walking faster, focus on swinging your arms, says Davis. The extra arm movement will help you burn more calories and build strength in your shoulders and core.

    7. Add in bodyweight exercises when you can

    Walking to lose weight shouldn’t be all about walking, says Davis. “Stop every block and do 15 to 20 squats, perform incline pushups or triceps dips on a park bench, and do walking lunges down the sidewalk.” All of these exercises increase your heart rate, help you build muscle, and keep your walking workouts from going stale, she says.

    You can also start or end your workout with strength exercises, especially bodyweight moves. Klein recommends moves like planks, wall sits, or calf raises in addition to squats and pushups.

    8. Keep an eye on your calorie count

    While your exact nutritional needs depend on a lot of factors outside of your steps per day, most women who are walking to lose weight follow a 1,200- to 1,600-calorie diet that’s rich in protein, says Davis.

    “If the main focus of your workout routine is low-intensity walking, your nutrition will have to be on-point for you to lose weight,” she says. “Even though you’re increasing your activity levels, you’ll have to decrease your calorie intake,” she says—that’s because you’re probably still not burning enough calories to add tons more to your diet.

    If you’ve been walking consistently and still aren’t seeing the scale budge (or are seeing it go up), take the time to write down what you eat for a week to see if there are any ways to cut back.

    9. Always take the longer route

    Yep, you’ve heard this one before. But all structured walking workouts aside, integrating more steps into your daily tasks (like parking farther from the door, taking the stairs, etc.) can help you hit your daily step goals and lose more weight, she says. “Over time, the little bursts of movement here and there really do make a difference,” says Davis.

    This article was originally published on More

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    Maximise Your Runs With These Tips From The Pros

    Running, while being a go-to workout for scores of women, can be a tough sport to tackle. There’s the question of how to plan your runs when training for a race, how to cross-train so your runs are faster, and how to score new PBs. But even with all of that, motivation can flag, leading to less running. Since that’s the least optimal scenario, we chatted to the pros on how to maximise your runs.

    And to make it worth your while, why not join #Run4Avos? You don’t have to run for a bag of the fruit – it’s all about getting amped about your runs again. Through the Nedbank Running Club’s #Run4Avos campaign, you can take part in weekly challenges and up your game. Join #Run4Avos on Strava and join in on the fun.

    Here, tips from the pros on how to maximise your runs.

    Meet the experts

    Adele Broodryk is a professional runner and 2023 Comrades Marathon second-place finisher.

    Fikile Mbuthuma is a seasoned Comrades Marathon competitor, having completed a whopping 19 races.

    Get motivated

    Get your kit

    While shopping for new fitness clothes is truly a great way to feel motivated to run again, you don’t have to. “Every evening before a training session, I put all my training clothes out. So when I wake I can just put it on and get going,” says Adele Broodryk, professional runner and 2023 Comrades Marathon second-place finisher.

    Plan your runs

    “As I am a pre-planner, dotting every session to come down on a weekly calendar really helps. This way, I can tick them off as they are completed. And who doesn’t like it when lists are marked off as completed?” says Broodryk.

    Use the 15-minute rule

    “Often we opt out of a session due to not “feeling it” or “feeling tired”, but I have found that when pushing through those 15 minutes, I tend to have my best workouts,” says Adele Broodryk.

    “On the other hand, if I still feel that “zoned out” feeling after the 15 minutes, I will then cancel the workout. This can be an indication of my body being tired or overtraining starting to take place.”

    Maximise your runs

    Get it done

    The best way to make sure you stick to your running plan is to just get it done. “Make your run the first thing you do to start your day,” says Fikile Mbuthuma, 19-time Comrades Marathon finisher. “Morning runs can easily become your important daily task. The run also helps energize the mind and body preparing for the day ahead.”

    Stick to the plan

    “Stick to the pre-planned paces! If a run is set out as an “easy” run, keep it that way!” says Broodryk. Going too hard can result in burnout, which would impede your progress anyway. Keep it simple.

    Get in on cross-training

    Do hill sprints

    “One of the easiest ways to power your legs is to run uphill or on a steep. This is a great way to build leg strength,” says Mbuthuma. Try running upstairs or on an incline on the treadmill in short bursts to power up those quads and glutes. This will help you go farther and faster in your regular runs.

    Add strength training

    “Never underestimate the power of strength training. This will help power you in a run, assisting your running efficiency and speed,” says Broodryk. Looking to add to your routine? Follow these pro-certified tips. More

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    Use These Tips To Get MUCH More Out Of Your Skipping Workout

    Tone your legs, burn kilojoules, up your fitness and improve your coordination with one simple tool you can use in your garden. Here, how to get the most out of your skipping workout.

    Why is a skipping workout so good?

    Like riding a bike, swimming and running, skipping is one of those fun childhood activities that becomes a slog with age. And that’s a pity because, should your fitness goals sit firmly in the camp of cardiovascular improvement and max kilojoule burn, skipping is a form of exercise that comes highly recommended. And unlike those other three (equally healthy) pursuits, you can do it at home and on the cheap – you can pick up an entry-level rope at a very reasonable price.

    Get roped in

    Skipping rope with counter

    This rope, with skipping counter, allows you. to track your skips.

    HS Fitness Heavy Jump Rope

    This heavier rope gives you added weight so you work that much harder.

    Cordless Skipping Rope

    This cordless rope gives you the option to go with or without a rope – and add some weight to the process.

    What are the benefits of skipping?

    Skipping is a calorie burner. Per estimates, you’re looking at around 15 to 20 calories burned per minute. Yeah! If you skip for just 15 minutes, you could burn 250 to 300 calories from jumping up and down.

    Skipping helps shift fat, since it’s a toning workout and cardio in one. By picking up a rope, you’ll tone up your muscles, including the butt, arms, shoulders, stomach and of course, those legs. This makes it one of the most efficient workouts around.

    Using a jump rope can improve your balance and coordination, something that gets worse as you age. A study in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine looked into the effects of skipping on motor abilities and body balance among football players. They found that people who skipped had ‘enhanced general motor coordination and balance’ compared to those who didn’t.

    Going hard on skipping also means you might score a new PB. That’s according to a meta-analysis of studies which found a correlation between those who skip and faster running times.

    Hop to it – use these form tips from trainer Christa DiPaolo to rope in the gains.

    1. Perfect the jump

    Keep your jumps low to the ground, your knees soft and stay light on your feet to minimise impact. Think, float like a butterfly, not an elephant.

    2. Check your arms

    Your arms should be at a 45-degree angle to your body, elbows pulled in close to your ribs. The further your hands are from your body, the shorter the rope.

    3. Rotate your wrists

    Rotate from your wrists rather than your shoulders – unless you’re using a heavier rope, in which case, rotate from your forearms.

    4. Keep it in the core

    Skipping is an ab exercise as much as anything else, so keep your core engaged throughout. Heavier ropes will force you to do so.

    Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. More