For many of us, January is a month of good intentions. Eating less, giving up smoking and getting more exercise consistently top the list of New Year resolutions.

For people who already eat healthily, do not smoke and are fit as fiddles, a more substantial goal for 2007 is required, something that will test their endurance and willpower.

Perhaps one of the most daunting challenges, more even than a marathon, is a triathlon, and thousands of fitness fanatics are already in training for the world’s largest event, to be held in London this August.

Are you up to the challenge?

Taking place on the 4th and 5th August 2007, London Tri is the biggest such event in the world and could provide a kick-start to a thorough post-Christmas fitness regime.

Unlike those up-tight Californians, we Brits get a whole winter to indulge in bangers and mash and ‘warming’ winter ales – merely to guard against the cold, of course.

Following Daniel Craig’s showing in Casino Royale, however, emerging from the sea like a Greek god, a beer belly is not going to be a good look this summer.

Getting fit without a focus, though, is difficult and doomed to fail, but if the gym looms ahead like some ‘pit of despair,’ triathlon can be a real alternative.

And if you think it is not for novices, consider this: 50% of last year’s participants were first timers.

Triathlon is Britain’s fastest growing sport for a reason. It offers maximum efficiency for the busy, and variety for those with a short attention span when it comes to exercise.

Then there is the lycra. And the speedos. And the running shorts. For anyone with a sports fetish it’s a day in heaven!

Bill Black, ex Olympic coach for the Great Britain team, is certain that triathlon is the best option for building optimum fitness, “Triathlon requires a training regime which is always fresh and challenging.”

Black, an expert in the training required for each speciality, explains why triathlon provides such a total-body work out, “Swimming is an approachable discipline, and so a great starting point to any training schedule.

“It builds incredible flexibility and in terms of the body, this gives arms, chests and shoulders great tone and strength.”

Perfect for contending with Craig’s rippling pectorals.

Black advises aspiring tri-athletes to begin gently; starting January in the pool; moving outside into open water as confidence builds (and the weather warms up!) around late April.

In the name of time efficiency, Black suggests that if a little swimming provides an impeccable lunchtime date; cycling to and from work is an economical way to fit the biking training into a busy schedule.

“This is a great cardio-vascular activity to begin and end each day with adrenaline. Cycling is also a great work out for the legs; particularly thighs; which are renowned for being hard to bulk up.”

The final leg of this three-prong attack upon the winter sloth: the run; firmly pounds off any remaining gelatinous bits.

“The run works the hamstrings; really toning the lower legs” says Bill.

The Michelob ULTRA London Triathlon not only gives one an exhilarating endpoint but, as Bill explains: “The whole experience of triathlon training gives the body a scrupulous workout, comprehensively improving strength, stamina and endurance.”

The Michelob ULTRA London Triathlon will take place at ExCeL, Royal Victoria Dock, London on the 4th and 5th August 2007. For more information visit www.thelondontriathlon.com