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Fit for less

What if you could get in shape without endless hours at the gym, on the road or in classes? Fitness coach Zen Martinoli believes his approach can achieve results when time is stretched. Daska Davis reports

If you’ve ever been torn between pulling on your gym gear for a lengthy session on the treadmill, putting in extra hours at work or the need to run around after your family, chances are your trainers get left until last. It’s easy to find excuses, but the reality is that achieving it all is sometimes impossible. “It’s tough fitting it all in,” remarked a friend recently. Feeling the same way, I was intrigued to talk with Zen Martinoli, author of Rapid Fitness, whose previous book, 5 Minute Fitness, aims to support those who struggle to hit the gym but want to stay in shape. Martinoli is a qualified boxing and fitness trainer who works closely at his north London studio with professional sports stars, actors and models who need to maintain strength and physique for their professional lives. “I’ve always competed in sports, at school and county level, and later I did a bit of acting and modelling, so I’ve worked to stay in good shape. “Staying fit has got to be part of your lifestyle, and my first book was aimed at people who are committed to regular activity but are maybe on the road, travelling, and can’t necessarily get to a gym. I had a eureka moment and thought I could create a programme of short, intense exercises which could be used on several levels. “This second book is more advanced and offers further benefits of high intensity training (HIT) combining plyometric, isometric and complex training which is used to maintain and improve sporting performance. There is a solid science behind this approach. Take an explosive movement, for example, the aim is to execute it within the shortest possible time, so the key is in mental preparation.” Having worked with professional sports men and women, what is it that Martinoli believes makes the difference to athletic success? “They are exercising for personal achievement, but also because it’s necessary for their work. They break through different barriers. Elite athletes are already finely tuned but there are always weaker areas, be it strength, speed or power to be worked on. The mindset is easier for someone who is doing it for a living.” So, what tips does Martinoli have for us lesser mortals? “Embrace exercise and make it part of your life. As humans we are designed to move, not to sit for prolonged periods of time, so build in as much physical activity as you can to your day. Body type is predetermined by our genes, for example, and some of us are more suited to endurance activities, others to more explosive pursuits, but there is a definite symbiosis between mindset and physical activity. When you start exercising regularly, the first four to six weeks is a novelty, but you then get down to the nitty gritty and your mindset is the most important thing – it can turn things around in terms of results.” Martinoli’s approach utilises our own body weight and HIT in mini workouts of 5-15 minutes, that can be slotted into busy lifestyles once or twice a day. “I’ve not broken the mould, says Martinoli, “I’ve just repackaged it in a new way. I would be the first to say that this isn’t everything but it’s a great way to maintain your fitness level when time is short. By all means go for a long cycle ride or enjoy a long class, but this can fit in between times or provide something interesting or different.” Rapid Fitness by Zen Martinoli is published by John Blake Publishing. Find Zen Martinoli at thefitnessfighter.com



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