Nicola Addison March 24, 2020

Nicola Addison, Personal Trainer, has devised a four-week work-out plan that you can do from the comfort of your living room. 

The Cheat System Fitness Plan, from the book Cheats & Eats, is a four-week workout programme where the intensity of the workout increases slightly week by week.

To achieve optimal results, aim to complete the full programme three times a week, making sure you have an active rest day in between. Active rest/recovery simply means 'lower-level' movement. Great examples of active rest are stretching, yoga and pilates. If you are not quite ready for the weekly increase, simply repeat the week you are on as many times as you need before moving to the next stage.

To start: the warm-up

Try to think of exercise as a start, middle and end. These are the warm-up, the workout and the cool-down. Warming up is often overlooked but is incredibly important, as it prepares the brain and body for what is about to come during the workout.

Slowly increasing the heart rate, and in turn blood flow, will help mobilise the joints and lengthen the muscles. A good warm-up also reduces the chance of injury, because we cannot expect the body to go from zero to hero instantly – think of it as a car that needs warming up on an icy day.

The warm-up requires no equipment and very little space. Simply complete 10 repetitions of each exercise in order. Exaggerate each move, attempting to make them as big as possible, which increases the body’s range of movement. Repeat the complete routine three times until you feel mildly puffed out and your extremities feel warm.

To finish: the cool-down

Another important element of your workout. It is essential to decrease intensity levels to reduce your heart rate and ultimately bring your body back to a restful state.

Cooling down by completing some dynamic stretches will aid recovery by returning the muscles to their normal length. It will help any muscle soreness, will help reduce levels of lactic acid in the blood and will generally help your body with its repair and recovery process.

The cool-down involves the same warm-up exercises, so no equipment is required. Simply complete the moves in order, but at a much slower pace. Repeat the complete routine twice.

Week One

Week one involves the introduction of key foundation, compound movements. A compound movement challenges numerous muscle groups and multiple joints at the same time and is an excellent calorie burner. Don’t forget to fully warm up before you start and cool down after you have finished.

The equipment required for week one is:

  • a sturdy chair
  • a hand towel
  • a solid wall to lean against

Aim to complete 15 of each exercise in order with little rest in between moves. Take a short rest at the end of each complete set and attempt to repeat a total of three times.

Week Two

All the moves in the second plan are progressions of week one. Following your warm-up, the aim is to complete 15 of each exercise in order with little rest in between moves. Take a short rest at the end of each complete set and attempt to repeat a total of three times. Once completed follow your cool-down routine.

The equipment required for week two is:

  • a step, box or low chair/stool
  • a hand towel
  • a solid wall to lean against

Week Three

As before, the exercise moves have once again progressed in intensity and range of movement. As with each week, following the warm-up, complete 15 of each exercise in order with little rest in between moves. Take a short rest at the end of each complete set, aiming to repeat a total of three times.

The equipment required for week three is the same as week two:

  • a step, box or low chair/stool
  • a hand towel
  • a solid wall to lean against

Week Four

As in previous weeks, the exercise moves have once again progressed in intensity and range of movement. Complete 15 of each exercise in order with little rest in between moves. Take a short rest at the end of each complete set and repeat a total of three times. This should be a breeze now after completing the first three weeks!

The only equipment required for week four is a hand towel which can double up as a stretch mat.

Disclaimer: please use common sense

Listen to your body. Starting a new exercise routine will place different demands on your body. If you have any concerns, check with your GP first and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.

For more information on staying well during COVID-19, visit our coronavirus advice hub.

Always follow the Government's guidelines on self-isolation and social distancing – see gov.uk/coronavirus for more information and the latest updates.

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