is it really a surprise that a kale smoothie is low on energy?

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If your lockdown fitness regime has been anything like mine, it will have started on a high note with daily Joe Wicks sessions, progressed to brief consideration of a Pilates Zoom session, and currently be at the stage of walking to the fridge and back.

According to The Truth About Getting Fit at Home (BBC Two), one million of us downloaded the NHS Couch to 5k app this year, although there were no statistics on how many of us are still hauling ourselves around the park.

But there was good news in the programme. A nice man from the University of Glasgow announced that just six minutes of high intensity exercise a week – that’s right, a week – can deliver substantial health gains. That’s a minute each for your back, legs, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Now that’s an eye-catching claim. 

Is it really that easy to get fit? The problem with this show, and so many others of its ilk, is that it had the bitty feel of a magazine programme. No sooner had we got our heads around one item, then presenter Mehreen Baig had whizzed off to another expert in another part of the country to discuss another topic.

Smart watch tech? Good. Protein supplements? Full of sugar. Compression leggings? I’d stopped concentrating by the time she got to the compression leggings. Some of this was useful from a consumer point of view – stopping us from wasting money on products that won’t do us any good – but other bits weren’t.

Baig tried out some new running software which can tell you what’s wrong with your technique, but also had a real live human to tell her what was wrong with her technique, and then we learned that the software hasn’t yet been turned into an app so you or I couldn’t use it anyway.

And for a presenter of a health programme, she was either playing dumb or genuinely hadn’t given things much thought: wasn’t it obvious that her daily celery, kale and lemon smoothie wasn’t packed with energy? Then again, did we really need an expert study to tell us that people wearing gadgets telling them how and when to work out exercised more than people who didn’t, or that cropped tops aren’t as supportive as more structured sports bras? 

Plus, for all the science-y innovation here, has fitness really moved on so much? I was interested to find out what Baig’s “booty workout” was,  after she described it as a craze among young women. But on the brief showing we got, it appeared that Jane Fonda was teaching us something similar 40 years ago.





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