Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

back to overview

July 2005

Crunch Time

Get in shape for summer

Summertime—and the livin’ is easy. But beware—make it too easy and you’ll soon be regretting it when it comes to parading in a skimpy top in the English Garden. Here’s how to make heads turn for the right reason…

First things first. It’s never too late to start looking after your body. Every little bit helps—and you’d be surprised at the difference a few minor lifestyle changes can make to your mood and health. According to Munich fitness instructor and professional dancer Courtney Blackwell, the city offers numerous opportunities to improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
“We’re very lucky to have fresh fruit stands located on most street corners,” she says. “Choose these healthy alternatives, rather than chips and candy when the sweet cravings come.” Indeed, summer berries are packed with vitamins and toxin-busting nutrients—blueberries, in particular, are being hailed the new miracle food. Alternatively, make it a habit to fit in a fresh fruit juice at the Viktualienmarkt—a delicious, refreshing way to stock up on essential vitamins.

There are numerous simple ways of shaping up for summer. “Learn how to use your space,” says Blackwell. “Whether it’s a few push-ups against the wall, sit-ups in the bath or stretches against the kitchen sink, you can use your surroundings to stay in shape.” For a bit of cardiovascular fitness, you need do no more than listen to your favorite CD and keep moving for 20 minutes. Or turn it into a social occasion, and have a night out on the town. “Dancing develops flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and is definitely food for the soul,” says Blackwell.
According to Munich personal trainer Hillary Coley, the best way to boost your body and soul is to make the most of the time before you go to work.
“Early morning jogging, or even walking, is a wonderful way to start the day,” she says. “The summer air is so fresh and inviting, and it’s a great way either to focus on the day ahead or to take time to be alone with your thoughts and away from the demands of everyday life.” As for evenings, the same “get outside” approach applies. “Summer is not a time for sitting in front of the television,” says Coley. “Go for a walk, a bike ride or simply get out in the garden.”
For those who are set on some serious toning, the gym may well be the quickest and most effective way to abdominal perfection. But, be warned—many frantic crunchees are far too busy dreaming of jealous looks on the beach to realize that their efforts are, by and large, wasted due to terrible technique and lack of proper instruction. Most gyms these days do offer 15–20 minute abs classes that try to put these wrongs right. Classes are instructor-led and therefore supervised under a qualified eye, making your time spent sweating and crunching more effective. Leo’s Sports Club on Leopoldstrasse (Tel. 383 89 90, is one such gym that’s worth checking out for its abs-class timetable. If you don’t fancy sweating it out with a bunch of strangers in lycra and plan on going solo, then here are a few points to consider to maximize your efforts:
Your stomach muscles get used to the same exercise in the same way as any other muscle in the body and they’ll soon stop responding effectively to the same old routine. Crunching isn’t the be all and end all, so get yourself clued up with at least 10 different exercises and combine them differently every time. This is by far the best way to get results and ease the boredom of a routine that is too familiar. Correct breathing is essential to ab training and something most people neglect. Exhale through your mouth as you lift and inhale through your mouth as you lower—you’ll keep your stomach pulled in much tighter this way and engage fibers that otherwise wouldn’t get used.
Slow is best—take your time during the movement and feel the muscle working, holding at the top of the crunch for maximum effect. Don’t force your head and shoulders up with your hands—let your abs take the strain. Use music to help you find your rhythm—go for eight beats up and eight beats down. Help things along by throwing some cardio into the equation—a jog around the English Garden on a beautiful summer’s day is a pleasure. And if you don’t like running alone, check out some of the jogging groups around.

However you choose to get fit, experts all agree that the most important thing is to keep it fun. “A new study suggests that people who laugh more burn more calories,” says Coley. “So never forget to stay happy and enjoy yourself. A good laugh is not only good for the soul, but it seems it’s good for the body, too.” <<<

Want to develop a tailor-made workout program? Contact Hillary Coley at 38 79 99 66 or (0171) 26 25 344 or Courtney Blackwell at (0162) 613 09 93.

tell a friend