Want guilt-free fizz and a mince pie? All it takes is 13 minutes

Want guilt-free fizz and a mince pie? All it takes is 13 minutes claims a new fitness routine

  • Anna Maxted gave her verdict on The Clock gym’s 13-minute workout routine
  • Gym founder Zana Morris, claims the routine can help to lose fat and gain muscle
  • She says you build muscle much faster with high intensity exercise 
  • The sessions burns off roughly 200 calories and throughout the day another 100 
  • Anna estimates a mince pie and two glasses of fizz are burnt off on workout days

After 12 minutes of lunges, press-ups and other nasties in the glorious drawing room of The Clock gym in Central London, I want to keel over on one of its elegant sofas.

I’ve drastically underestimated how gruelling a 13-minute routine can be. Zana Morris, elite trainer and the gym’s founder, is coaching me through an express strength-training session.

Completed four times weekly, it will fine-tune my body into a more efficient fat-burning machine. Meaning, I won’t merely look better, I’ll be able to eat more too — and just in time for the Christmas party season!

This is because strength training builds and improves muscle tone. Muscle uses more energy than fat, so even when you’re lolling on the sofa watching a re-run of Love Actually, your metabolism ticks along at a faster rate than before.

Anna Maxted (pictured right with Gym founder Zana Morris) gave her verdict on The Clock gym in Central London high intensity workout sessions

If you gain a pound of muscle, you’ll burn 50-100 extra calories a day. But getting there requires many hours of sweating effort at the gym, surely?

Miraculously — no. A recent study found that significant increases in strength and endurance can be achieved with just three weekly 13-minute resistance training sessions over two months. The gains rivalled those achieved with a substantially longer workout.

One set of each exercise gets results, but you must exert yourself until your muscles feel like jelly. The technical term for this is — aptly — ‘working to failure’, where you keep going until you really can’t do any more. It might sound daunting, but it’s worth it.

Morris says: ‘If you exercise at a high intensity, the body does most of the work after the session in the recovery period. It has this massive disturbance on muscle fibres, and even when you stop, that keeps going.

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With high intensity exercise, working up to 95 per cent capacity, your metabolism goes up from two to 48 hours after the session. That means you’re burning fat faster for up to two days after you’ve trained.

‘It also seems to have an impact on your growth hormone, a hormone that targets belly fat and helps build lean body mass. You build muscle much faster with high intensity exercise.’

Many women fear bulking up, but, says Morris (whose clientele includes a clutch of A-listers, though she refuses to name-drop): ‘It doesn’t mean you’ll get bigger. Most people are looking for tone. Tone is muscle. It’s a tight, firm muscle. It burns calories. Which means if you’ve got muscle tone, you’re burning more calories even when asleep.’

We fit nine tough exercises into my 13 minutes. At the end of the session, I’m not breathless but there isn’t a squeak of energy left and my legs feel shaky. The next morning it hurts to laugh.

Anna (pictured right with Zana) says it took her a week to master completing the 13 minutes workout solo

I leave 48 hours before my next session, which is in my sitting room. My first solo effort at the workout takes a while, as I’m still mastering the techniques, but within a week, I’ve trained myself and am bang on 13 minutes.

Morris, who is also a nutritionist, says that if you start doing this express workout now, four times a week at 85 per cent of your capacity, she estimates ‘you’ll lose 2-3lb of fat and gain 1-2lb of muscle. If you could combine it with a sensible low-carb higher protein eating plan, you’d probably shed 5-6lb of fat and gain up to 3lb of muscle by New Year’s Eve.’

That means you’d burn roughly 100-200 more calories in a day, not including the 200 from the actual session or the post-training calorie burn, so, on workout days, I make that up to a whopping 400 calories, or two glasses of fizz (182 cals) and a mince pie (210).

Call it an early Christmas present.


20 SQUATS: (or as many as you can do in 30 seconds, building to a minute). ‘We do want speed,’ notes Morris. Stand with legs hip-width apart, toes facing slightly outwards. Keep upper body straight, hold your arms in front of you, one hand holding the other, for balance. Squat as low as you can go — ‘It’s that last inch that really gets the glute [bottom muscle]’ — inhale. Exhale as you rise, pushing up through your heels, using your glutes for power, and keeping abdominals tight.

20 SEATED ROWS: Sit on the floor, knees slightly bent, loop a resistance band around your feet and hold the ends with straight arms. Sit straight, shoulders down, chest up. Lean slightly forward, then row back, pulling the band. Exaggerate the pullback, keep your chest out and squeeze elbows back and down. Keep your shoulders down. Feel the s q u e eze i n yo u r l a t s . Great for waist and posture.

15-30 SECONDS OF PUSH-UPS: Great for the chest and triceps. Start with your knees on the floor. Keep hands level with your shoulders, slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. Keep your abdominals tight, bend your elbows and lower your chest almost to the floor. P r e s s u p quickly, and then repeat.

18-20 TRICEP DIPS (or as many as you can in 30 seconds). Use a chair or even a sofa (anything that won’t tip). Keep your chest up, with an arch in the back as you go up and down, to work out the mid-back as well as triceps. Your feet can be almost under the knees (easiest). The further out your feet, the harder it is. Go up and down, g e t t i n g y o u r bottom as close to the floor as your shoulders allow.

10 AB CRUNCHES: Lie on the floor, knees bent and together, chin away from the chest (keep your neck long). Lace fingers behind your neck for support, look at the ceiling behind you as you lift up chest to ceiling, and down. Then repeat, angling to the right, then left (angle your chest towards left knee for ten, then change) to target abdominals and obliques. Build up to a total of 20 crunches.

18-20 LATERAL RAISES: Stand with knees slightly bent, hip-width apa r t , shoulders down, abdominals tight. One end of the resistance band is under your left foot, the other held in your right hand. With elbow slightly bent, hand pointing towards the floor, raise your right elbow and forearm to slightly above shoulder height, then lower. After 20 raises, swap sides.

18 REAR DELTOID PULLS: Shoulders down, hold arms straight out in front of you, just above chest height, holding the band between them (or weights). With your arms slightly bent and locked in position, bring the elbows back behind you, squeezing your shoulder blades. The movement comes from the shoulder (don’t change elbow angle): hands should finish roughly in line with your shoulders. The move has a slight downwards trajectory, so you feel it under your shoulder blades. Keep it fluid.

20 FORWARD LUNGES (or 30 seconds to a minute): Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Take a long stride forward and down with your left leg. Keep chest up, abs engaged. Your left knee should be in line with your left ankle (so it’s directly above it), and your right leg stretched back with knee touching the ground. (‘That digs into the glute.’) Push up through your left heel (this targets your hamstring and glute) and step back to where you began. Alternate left and right lunge.

10 LEG LIFTS: Lie on the floor, lift your legs up so they’re vertical, almost straight, cross the ankles, and lift. Raising the feet towards the ceiling, lift the hips off the floor, and control the return. Then simply tilt the feet to a slight angle, towards one shoulder, so you’re focusing on one side — 10 each, bui ld to 20, and change.

theclock.com; thelibrarygym.com

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