The waist whittler: gymnastics
Adult gymnastic classes do not equal squeezing into a leotard and prancing about like a nine year old. They’re a serious workout and vary from artistic (using apparatus), rhythmic (Pilates meets ballet) and trampolining. And you can wear T-shirts and shorts. Phew.
Beginner friendly? “You can start at any age,” says Gemma Barton, Gymnastics For All manager at British Gymnastics. “You don’t need special skills or equipment – just the desire to challenge yourself and self-motivate.”
* Be realistic. “You’re probably not going to be somersaulting in the first week,” explains Gemma. “So try to have fun rather than setting yourself goals and you’ll notice you start to improve with every class.”
* Find a friend. “Take a mate along to help spur you on. As it’s not a team sport, it can be really helpful to learn the various skills needed alongside someone else.”
* Have an open mind “Try out all the disciplines to find the one that’s right for you,” advises Gemma. “If you’ve got good hand-eye co-ordination you’ll be a natural at artistic, whereas if you’re flexible then rhythmic will suit you better.”
Workout zones “The best thing about gymnastics is you know you’ve done it the next day!” says Gemma.
“It works every single muscle group, but the core stability you need means it’s great for toning the stomach. Gymnastics is all about posture and balance, and controlling and flattening your stomach muscles is a big part of it.”
Get started There are more than 1,600 gymnastic clubs in the country. Find your local one by visiting Britishgymnastics.org.
Play-cation Head over to Brighton, Bournemouth or Weymouth for Jumpzones’ beachside bungee trampolines. With a harness and bungy cords, you can bounce as high as an Olympic gymnast and get a sea view (Jumpzone.org).
The belly buster: diving
Plummeting into the pool is, as you might have noticed from Tom Daley’s rather impressive eight-pack, a fast-forward to fitness. Plus, the energy consumed by swimming boosts your metabolism so well that 30 minutes exercise in the pool is the same as 45-60 minutes on land.
Beginner friendly? “Divers do need to be athletic and flexible,” says Jodie LeResche, spokesperson for the Amateur Swimming Association. “You’re hitting the water at high speed, so you should receive tuition from a qualified coach.”
* Don’t get wet (yet). “Diving practice starts with crash mats and trampolines so you can develop confidence.”
* Get the gear. “You’ll need a swimsuit designed for sports so it stays on when you hit water. The Speedo Endurance range is good for divers,” says Jodie.
Workout zones “Platform diving primarily engages the abs and upper back, but as you get better it becomes a full-body workout. Core strength is key to a good dive as you’ll be working your oblique and abdominal muscles”.
Get started The British Swimming Organisation has classes for all levels (Swimming.org).
The bingo-wings banisher: archery
Archery is very easy to pick up and, thanks to The Hunger Games, it’s having a bit of a moment.
Beginner friendly? Hell, yeah. “One of the unique things about archery is that absolutely anyone can do it,” says Liz Mynott, performance coach to the GB Olympic archers. “The fact that a 46 year old competed in the Olympics [South African Karen Hultzer] proves that!”
* Take the family. “Archery makes for a great day out,” says Liz. “Kids (over eight) love it as they get instant results.”
* Don’t wear layers. “Bulky clothing restricts movement. And your bow could get caught in anything baggy.”
* Do wear trainers. “Open-toed shoes aren’t allowed on the archery field, and you’ll want comfortable footwear.”
Workout zones “Archery is fab for toning the upper body and defining the triceps,” says Liz.
Get started Visit Archerygb.org to search for your nearest club.
Play-cation Go all Robin Hood with archery lessons in Sherwood Forest, plus a stay in a cabin (from £565 for a three- night stay for four, Forestholidays.co.uk).
The all-rounder: athletics
Whether you’re jumping, throwing or running (or like Jessica Ennis, doing the lot) athletics is great if you’ve got a competitive side.
Track From 100m sprints to endurance races, running reduces body fat and tones your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles. If you can’t even run for the bus, try the free Couch To 5k podcasts from Nhs.co.uk, to build you up gradually.
Throwing Core physical strength is needed to hurl a javelin, hammer, discus or shot-put, but the whole body gets a massive workout.
Jumping You need speed, strength and flexibility to pole vault, high jump, long jump or triple jump. You work every muscle, but strong abs, glutes and calves are essential. UK Athletics offers taster sessions for all disciplines. Go to Uka.org.uk to find one near you.
The bum booster: beach volleyball
It’s no wonder they play in bikinis – we would with bods like theirs!
Beginner friendly? “It can be tricky to learn,” says Denise Johns, GB Beach Volleyball Player. “The more you do it, the better you get.”
* Don’t swing your arms. “Move your arms as little as possible,” says Denise. “And bend your knees.”
* Find a wall. “Practise ‘peppering’ (passing the ball back and forth). It’s good for improving fitness and skill.”
Workout zones “Your arms get toned, as do your thighs, bottom and calf muscles,” says Denise.
Get started For free taster sessions, visit Gospike.net.
Play-cation The place to learn is the home of beach volleyball – Rio. Journeylatinamerica.co.uk has an eight- day trip from £1,346 per person, flights included.