The Tab’s Guide to New Year Fitness

James Edwards and Jennifer Simpkins on the best ways to lose that Christmas stuffing.

The dawn of the new year means a new, albeit temporary, enthusiasm for self-improvement, hurried promises to work more and be less rude to people exchanged at a rate of knots, borne from the sense that a new Cats of the Season calendar (and inordinate amounts of the kind of wine you can buy in plastic bottles) means a fresh start. A bit spurious it might be, but it’s far from our place to tell you to temper your ambitions – in fact, we wouldn’t mind helping out. Dropping some of that Christmas poundage is a fairly easy stop on the road to brilliant, so if you have, like us, eaten like Rik Waller at a butter convention, it’s probably best you follow these get-fit tips until your mother stops looking at you quite so disapprovingly.


1. Join a UCL sports society


It’s never too late to try that sport you’ve always been fascinated by. Lacrosse? Squash? Cheerleading? Ultimate Frisbee? UCL sports societies are a chance to work out and socialise, whilst also letting you humiliate KCL in competition a few times a year.


2. Start running


Running is a great way to release those endorphins (happy chemicals) that have been so effectively repressed by that pesky mountain of work you’ve got going. Get yourself down to Regent’s Park and go for a run – because it’s such a popular spot for joggers, you won’t look as conspicuous as you might pegging it down Camden High Street.


3. Evade zombie hordes


Outrunning mobs of zombies whilst in mortal fear of your life is a great way to burn those pesky calories. Impossible, I hear you cry, in a pre-apocalyptic world! Until now. Zombies, Run! is a fitness app, available on both iPhone and Android, that’s designed to add a modicum of excitement to an otherwise dull pastime. As the plot-twist filled story is played to you through your headphones, you must run to pick up survival supplies and, when you hear a zombie mob coming, you’re coerced into sprinting to escape their clutches. It normally retails for £5.49 (pricey), but it’s currently reduced to £2.49 to celebrate the new year. Grab it while you can get it cheap – fear is an excellent motivator, even if the children I mentor disagree.


4. Limber up with yoga


So you’re not up for a super-strenuous workout when you can barely even move after all those roast spuds. Fair enough – give yoga a go. Great for stress relief and strengthening core muscles, yoga is practical because it’s easy to teach yourself (try a free app such as MyYogaGuru for instructions) and can be done almost anywhere, anytime. If you lack the confidence to go it alone, or really want to get into yoga seriously, TriYoga ( are offering a “2 weeks for £20” deal where you can take as many classes as you like at any centre for the two weeks. They have locations in Primrose Hill, Chelsea, Soho and Covent Garden.


5. Skip the public transport


If you’re a regular on tubes and buses, consider walking to your destination instead. Pretty much everywhere is flat in London so there’s really no excuse, plus you don’t have to avoid the cocktail of mentals that public transport so often involves. Get up half an hour earlier and powerwalk to uni to get your blood pumping and your brain ready for all that book-learnin’ you’re going to get up to.


6. Count your calories


In the post-Christmas lull, there’s little more tempting than settling down with a Toblerone and a book with easy words. Rather than filling the void with Switzerland’s oddest-shaped innovation, you could try eating a little less grotesquely. MyFitnessPal is an excellent calorie counter, with the requisite mobile applications, for tracking your diet and making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. You can even connect it up to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, if you’re under the impression that your friends really do want to know, to the nearest kilojoule, exactly what you had for lunch.