If you’re like the rest of the world this time of year, it’s likely that between Halloween and New Year you’ll gain between 2-10 pounds in weight. And that’s not muscle either; Most of it’ll be the wobbly stuff you’ve been working hard on for most of the year to get rid of!
It’s the most jolly of jolliest times of year but this festive fun all comes at a price, with less exercise, more TV, and a load more junk food it’s far too easy to let the body go a little!
Here are 8 essential tips to help you keep your body in check, and stop your six-pack turning in to a beer keg, this time of year:
- EVERYONE has 15-20 minutes a day spare to exercise! EVERYONE! – As you might be short on time, and even motivation during the holiday period it’s important that you make the most of every opportunity you have to exercise. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 1 hour you have it’s enough of an opportunity to get better at something. Adapt your workouts or find new ones that fit with the time you have spare.
- Try some Resistance-based Circuit Training for time-saving results – This form of training offers a huge bang for your buck. It can boost your resting metabolism for up to 36 hours, helps build muscle, and turns you in to a fat burning machine. Just set-up a circuit of 4-6 resistance exercises and perform them back to back with minimal rest. Once you’ve completed one circuit rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat again until you’ve done it 3-5 times. Quick stretch and then go home. You’ll be out of the gym and down the pub within 30 minutes ?
- Stay active outside of the gym – The holiday period is often a time of year where a lot of it’s spent at home, or around friends and family. And as much as you may want to, sacrificing seeing that Great Aunt you haven’t seen for years to get to the gym probably isn’t going to go down well! Instead, plan your days to be active ones; go for long walks with the family, go and hunt and chop down your own Christmas Tree, do some gardening, catch up on jobs around the house, get physical with the other half (maybe not all at once!). Anything that might get you a little sweaty will help with damage control from all that eating, and much better than sitting on the sofa with a tin of quality street chocolates.
- Try something outside of your comfort zone – Use this holiday season as an opportunity to do some exercises, routines or a new sport outside of your comfort zone. Routines and weekly training schedules are all over the place, so you might as well try something new, who knows you might find a new favourite love. If you’re a gym bunny, try getting outside and going for a run. If you’re a runner then try training like a powerlifter for a month. Organise a little 5-a-side football match with your mates. You get the picture; just push your comfort zone out a little.
- Perform bodyweight exercises and stretches throughout the day, any time you have 2 minutes spare. Bodyweight lunges, squats, push-ups, planks, a yoga routine, you can’t really go wrong. By making sure you’re moving constantly through the day you’re ensuring that your metabolism is staying alight; it’s a bit like throwing some extra coal on to your Christmas fire, you’ve got to keep that fire and that metabolism stoked up and burning!
- Find yourself a Personal Trainer or Distance Coaching Programme to follow – A good Personal Trainer will assess your body type, your movement, strengths and weaknesses, factor in your time constraints and daily habits, and structure a programme based around your individual needs. A good Coaching programme will be accountable for your results, so just do what you’re told over the festive season and you’ll actually gain results rather than lose them!
- Use the 90% food rule – Make healthy food choices 90% of the time. It’s unrealistic to be 100% compliant to a healthy diet throughout this time of year, but with 90% you can still expect great results, and still feel healthy. This allows you 10% of your week to indulge in whatever your brain and belly craves, and to enjoy yourself without guilt.