Zurich. If you're shaping up for summer with the family but can't face the thought of a gym workout, stepping on a treadmill or going to Zumba classes, help is at hand!
Rob Huff, one of Chevrolet's World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race champions, is offering great advice for everyone in the family to get active, eat healthy and dump junk food and bad habits. He'll even show you how to drop a few kilograms and throw in brainpower food tips to boost concentration in the classroom and office.
With almost 25 percent of the population overweight or obese* across 19 EU member states – mostly children and young adults – there is an increasing need to confront this challenge and get young people and families active.
Break a sweat anywhere and everywhere
Rob has created a street-style workout to keep fit wherever he is in the world and maximize his performance on the race track. Rob, and his Chevrolet Cruze team mates Yvan Muller and Alain Menu, are incredibly fit to cope with the physical demands on their bodies during a race, thanks to fitness programs that include running, cycling and many hours in the gym.
"Exercise should be fun. If it isn't, try a different kind of activity that you enjoy. It also helps if the activities you choose are easily accessible – even a brisk 15-minute walk with the shopping is good enough," says Rob. "I'm always looking for different ways of training and techniques that help improve reaction times in the car so I 'shock' my body by doing something different every day – wherever I am."
Rob has devised a set of exercises he can do anywhere. More often than not, his 'gym' can be anything from a park near his hotel to an open space, depending on where he is competing with the Chevrolet team.
"Traveling with Chevrolet means training at a regular time or gym can be difficult," says Rob. "Wherever I am, I find somewhere to exercise or do field training, whether it's in a small public park with a bench for step-ups or a lake that I can run round. I've even once used a children's adventure playground with a hooped climbing frame that was near a hotel!"
When it's rainy or if you're tired, workouts are the first thing pushed to the side. Finding motivation to jump into any workout can be as difficult at the task itself, so Rob finds it crucial to make exercising exciting.
There are a few ways to get motivated for a good calorie-burning session. In addition to making workouts fun, Rob recommends writing down your goals or reasons for working-out as a powerful tool to keep you going. Many people begin to get active or start exercising to wear smart clothes or get ready for a wedding. Make a note of these goals and remind yourself of the ultimate prize every day.
"Mental attitude and preparation is a massive part of what I do. My personal goal is to win the WTCC championship. My fitness goal in 2011 was to run as many of the circuits we race at as possible after practice sessions or testing. At the end of every race day, I ran the course with my chief race engineer as a challenge. Other than two street circuits in Brazil and China— where the track is on public roads filled with city traffic— we ran 80 percent of the places we visited. It not only gave us 'think' time, but was also great achievement."
Foods for thought
Whether you're in the office, in the classroom or traveling at 250km/h behind the wheel of a WTCC Chevrolet Cruze, you need to be alert and focused all day. Rob's diet and exercise routine has been specially designed by a nutritionist to increase concentration levels and reaction times with foods that boost brainpower – 'brain foods'.
According to the European Food Information Council, students who eat breakfast have improved memory and get better grades on tests compared to those who skip the first meal of the day**.
"As mum always said, breakfast is the most important meal," says Rob. "It raises your metabolic rate and food is used effectively for the rest of the day. I eat lots of muesli, porridge and energy-rich bananas in the morning."
According to the latest research by the Livestrong Foundation, there are five iron and Omega 3-rich foods that energize your body, boost concentration, improve memory and keep you alert. These are salmon, white meat, vegetable juice, blueberries and hazelnuts – all in Rob's diet.
"What you eat affects how well you work, study and mentally focus; a diet rich in essential fatty acids, fruits and vegetables does wonders for your brain power," adds Rob. "The cartoon character, Popeye, was right as spinach is a great source of iron, and so is broccoli, oily fish, walnuts and whole grains."
Rob's secret to a balanced 'brain-powered' diet is eating small meals throughout the day packed with nutrient rich, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that also help him maintain his target weight.
"Lunch is always a small serving but packs a high-energy punch; a critical element for endurance athletes. I'm a wholemeal pasta lover so there's lots of that in my diet with tuna or chicken. I tend to 'load-up' on carbohydrate-rich food two days before a race to give me lots of slow-release energy and help stamina. I also occasionally treat myself to a grilled steak or liver with green, leafy vegetables – the best sources of dietary iron."
Rob keeps a large bottle of water with him to keep hydrated, replacing the eight to 10 cups of liquids lost during his workouts. If you're not keen on the taste of plain water, Rob's top tip is to add a squeeze of lemon or lime for a tangy kick. When dehydrated, the brain releases cortisol which stops it from storing information, leading to a decrease in memory power and a drop in concentration.
Rob's top fitness tips
Inspired by Chevrolet's WTCC fitness steps? Rob Huff's top tips will help you and your families get active, eat healthy and boost concentration in the classroom and office.
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* Source: European Health Interview Survey (EHIS)3, Eurostat November 2011
** Source: Food Today, European Food Information Council, 2010
Chevrolet is General Motors' largest global brand with annual sales of more than four million vehicles in more than 140 countries. It is the fourth biggest global car brand in terms of sales and also one of the fastest growing brands in the world. Chevrolet cars combine bold design, performance, innovation and practicality. They provide outstanding value for money. Established in the U.S. by Swiss émigré Louis Chevrolet in 1911, the brand celebrated its centenary in 2011. The brand was re-launched in Europe in 2005. It is represented with a total of 2,500 sales and service outlets in Western and Central Europe. The European Chevrolet line-up includes the Spark city car, the small Aveo sedan and hatchback, the compact Cruze sedan and hatchback, the Orlando family van, the Captiva SUV, the legendary Camaro and Corvette sports cars and the extended-range Volt electric car. In 2012, Chevrolet is launching the Cruze station wagon and the Malibu mid-size sedan. More information on Chevrolet can be found at www.chevroleteurope.com.
If you're shaping up for summer with the family but can't face the thought of a gym workout, stepping on a treadmill or going to Zumba classes, help is at hand...
Exercise should be fun— so Rob Huff has chosen simple exercises and activities that will have you "Cruzing" to a healthier lifestyle either at home or elsewhere...