STAYING fit and healthy has always been important – and with Covid-19, the need has never been greater.
Research shows that suffering from obesity or diabetes can have a devastating impact on your ability to fight the virus.
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Carrying too much weight puts extra pressure on your vital organs, your immune system and even your mind.
So there has never been a better time to fight the flab and get fighting fit.
It’s something that ex-Towie star Mark Wright knows all about – and he will be sharing his exercise regime exclusively with Sun readers over the coming days.
Here, he explains why good health is everyone’s best weapon.
HE has an enviable six-pack and works out with celebrity pals including Amanda Holden and Tyson Fury.
But Mark Wright insists he is just a former fat kid who trains hard to stay trim.
He adds: “People see me now and say, ‘He’s naturally fit — it’s genetics’. But I’m absolutely not.
“My mates call me a ‘chubby boy waiting to break out’ because I love my food.
“And, just like anyone else, if I get lazy and stop working out, I soon notice that bit of flab creeping on.
“I love ordering a takeaway and having beers with my mates, but then I also have chicken salad for lunch and work out four to five times a week — it’s about consistency.”
A big fan of home workouts, Mark, 33, has now made it his mission to get the nation in shape while in lockdown.
And tomorrow he will be bringing Sun on Sunday readers an exclusive first look at his new Train Wright fitness plan.
Just because the gyms are closed, that is no excuse not to work out.
Mark says: “Staying healthy and fit mentally and physically throughout life is so important.
“During these confusing and worrying times, being healthy and fit now should be a priority.”
For Mark, that means daily live Instagram workouts, which have featured celebrity mates including comics Keith Lemon and John Bishop and singers Kimberley Walsh and Pixie Lott.
But instead of just tuning in to watch celebrities sweating in their living rooms, Mark — who is married to actress Michelle Keegan, 32 — says now is the time to dust off your trainers and get fit along with them.
'IM NOT SOMEONE WHO SPENDS HOURS IN GYM'
He believes there is no need to spend hours with a personal trainer or use a specialised nutrition plan.
And he says he just does 30 minutes of exercise, four to five times a week, while still enjoying the odd burger and takeaways at the weekend.
He adds: “My Instagram live workouts are exactly how I train and stay in shape.
“It’s so easy — just 20 or 30 minutes a day.
“You don’t need much space but you know you’ll get a proper workout.
“People have asked me for years how I train and stay in shape, and having the time in lockdown to finally show everyone has been amazing.
“I’m not someone who ever spent hours in the gym every day, even though that’s what people think.
“I swear I work harder when I train at home because I haven’t got the faff of getting to the gym, waiting for equipment or wandering around deciding what I’m going to do.
"And that’s what I want to show people — that you can get amazing results, lose weight, feel fitter and get all those benefits with my workouts.”
New research shows obesity makes you twice as likely to need hospital treatment for Covid-19 — and a quarter of related deaths in England have been of people with diabetes.
So there has never been a better time to start getting fit.
Mark’s workouts are designed for all levels.
He says: “It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or if you are already really fit, because if you push yourself to YOUR max, you will see a difference.”
Mark first got the fitness bug after being signed to Tottenham’s youth football academy while still at school.
When he failed to make the grade for renewing his contract because he had gained weight, he realised health and fitness was not something you can take for granted.
He says: “I was captain of the team at one point, was the fittest I’ve ever been and all set to go far.
“That summer between seasons I thought I deserved a bit of rest, so I went to Spain for a month to visit my cousin Elliot.
“I drank alcohol for the first time, ate what I wanted and didn’t train.
“I put on 1st 8lbs and it completely mucked up everything.
“My coach put me in the ‘Fat Boys’ Club’, on a strict diet and fitness plan, but I was behind the rest. I think that’s always stayed with me.”
'AFTER FIRST PUSH-UP, I'M ABSOLUTELY BUZZING'
Mark is sharing his Train Wright fitness plan with Sun readers as he wants to get as many people as possible reaping the benefits of exercise.
He says: “Stay with this plan and I promise you that, very quickly, not only will you feel and look physically better but mentally you will be in an incredible headspace and you can thank me after.
“Of course I don’t look forward to every workout, I don’t think anyone jumps out of bed and says, ‘I can’t wait to do a workout’.
“But I do look forward to how good I’m going to feel after.
“I’m like everyone else — I sit on the sofa thinking, ‘Right, in five minutes I’m going to get up and do this workout’.
“Sometimes I even have to say in my head, ‘One, two, three, GET UP’.
“And I drag myself to work out.
“But honestly, the minute I start, after that first push-up, I’m absolutely buzzing, and if someone tried to drag me away to sit back on the sofa there’s no way I’d want to.
“I know some of you will be looking at this article thinking, ‘I want to work out but I can’t be bothered to do 20 minutes right now’.
“But I want to tell you, if you do, it will be so rewarding.
“I’m lucky not to suffer with any mental health issues, but I’ll be the first to admit that if I go a good few days without exercise, I feel that I can get more stressed or moody sometimes.
“That’s when I notice the real mental benefits of exercise.
“It clears your mind and just makes you feel good about yourself.
“That must be even more important when we are cooped up in lockdown.”
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