A DOWNHAM leisure centre is inviting people to kick off their new year fitness programme for just £1 - and has offered nine tips to help lose the festive flab.

The New Year is often a time when people kick-start their fitness regimes, particularly if they feel they have piled on some extra pounds over the festive season.

Downham Health and Leisure Centre is inviting you to join the gym for just £1 and head of fitness Kevin Yates has offered up some top tips:

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1. Stay realistic

If you are not used to it, getting into exercise isn’t always easy. Set yourself realistic goals and maybe speak to a personal trainer who can help you figure out the goals that are right for you.

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2. Join with a friend

If you know your routine may slip or are a bit intimidated by the gym, join with a friend as this will be motivation in itself. Getting fit together will make you both feel great.

3. Make the time

Many people feel they don’t have time to go to the gym or exercise, but if you consider how many hours there are in the day, there is definitely time to squeeze in an hour of exercise. It is so much more worthwhile than watching a TV show.

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4. Find an activity you enjoy

Exercise should be enjoyable and not feel like torture. After all, you’ve made the decision to do it. Find something you enjoy doing so you can take pleasure in overcoming any challenges and progressing with your fitness levels.

5. Make a diet plan

Food is 90 per cent  of the health and fitness battle, and making a diet plan helps you monitor how your eating fits with your exercise regime.  . By eating a balanced mix of proteins, fats and carbohydrates you will reap the benefits of your physical training routine.

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6. Keep on top of your progress

A fitness journal will help keep your exercise routine on track, especially when you need some extra motivation and can look back and see how far you have come.

7. Try something new

It is important to keep your exercise regime fresh, so that you don’t get  bored doing the same things. Try different classes or contact a personal trainer to spice up your routine.

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8. Don't overdo it

While exercise shouldn't be easy, you shouldn't injure yourself by working too hard. Your body needs time to recover too, particularly if you are new to working out – so make sure you build in some relaxation.

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9. Forget your excuses

Whatever excuses you may have used before for not exercising, try and forget about it and think of all the potential benefits instead. Remember your body can do anything; it is just the brain that needs convincing.

To find out more about Downham Health & Leisure Centre, visit the website.