Fitness over Christmas

The Christmas holiday period is typically extremely busy and can also be extremely indulgent. In short, health and fitness is not generally found at the top of the list, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Yes, Christmas is a time of celebration, and often excess, frequently resulting in firm New Year’s resolutions to get fit and lose weight, so it’s not surprising that many people struggle to maintain a healthy focus in December. If your fitness takes a back seat at this time of year, you’ll probably identify with some of the following problems:

  • I’m too busy with Christmas preparations to fit exercise into my day
  • I get invited to loads of indulgent Christmas parties
  • I love Christmas but I know I overdo the eating and drinking
  • In January, I always have to try and make amends for the effects of the festivities

If any of those phrases ring a few bells, these tips can help you. To enjoy the Christmas celebrations and maintain a healthy focus, simply check out our festive fitness guide which includes:

  • Maintenance exercise routines
  • Time efficient exercise strategies
  • Calorie saving ideas

Following these will ensure that when the festive season draws to a close, you don’t have a mountain to climb to get back in shape.

Resistance Training Workouts

A typical session with weights in the gym involves completing two or more sets of a range of exercises, with a recovery period of anything between 30 seconds and several minutes between each set. This recovery period is an essential component of your training, but it is time during the festive season that you can ill afford to spare. Instead of relaxing and recovering between sets, for a change, try carrying out complementary exercises during the recoveries, for example: alternating between the following muscles:

  • Chest and upper back.
  • Biceps and triceps.
  • Abdominals and lower back.
  • Quadriceps and hamstrings (front and back of legs).

Cardiovascular (CV) Workouts

Every workout should include a thorough warm-up and cool-down so there is no opportunity to save time there. However, in the main body of your session, there is an opportunity to reduce the duration but still get calorie burning and quality training benefits. Instead of doing a ‘steady-state’ CV session, try a few of the following time saving alternatives:

Five Minutes Brisk Followed With Five Minutes Easy

Whether you’re jogging outdoors or working out on a piece of gym equipment, alternate faster efforts with equal time recoveries. You get a greater training effect than just a steady workout and so you can cut your session time down yet still remain fit.

A Short, Intense Time-Trial

Again, any piece of gym equipment can be used, or walking, jogging or running outside. Decide on a time or distance that you’re going to exercise for and then after your warm-up, really go for it against the clock. It’s tough – but great training and a shorter session brings as many benefits as your usual longer workout. Always remember to include a thorough cool-down afterwards.

Hill Training Programmes

For a change, select a hill training program, vary the resistance on the rower, cross-trainer or bike, or simply put more effort in on the hills for your outdoor training. This way you are substituting more quality for steady-state training, so a shorter workout brings greater benefits.

For more advice cone and see us.

How to Make Yourself Work Out When It’s Dark Out

How to Make Yourself Work Out When It’s Dark Out

It’s hard enough to be a morning person and wake up to work out, but when the moon is still out when your alarm goes off, forget about it! Then again, if you hit snooze and wait to work out after work, you might be faced with the same problem.

We might have a few ideas to help you solve this dilemma….

  1. Have a plan. Know exactly what you plan to do for your workout when you go to bed the night before. Whether it’s a run, walk, weights workout or HIIT class, have a plan in place. That way, you’re not lying there in the morning trying to figure it out. Lay out your gear, equipment, gym bag and whatever else you’ll need the night before, too. Plus when you know what you’re going to do (such as run 3 miles), you know exactly how much time it takes (30 minutes plus time to stretch), and it keeps you punctual in the morning to make it happen.
  2. Don’t hit snooze. FULL STOP. If you’re a chronic snooze-button user, place your clock on the other side of the room so that you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Better yet, turn on the lights right away and turn on some pumping music to help yourself wake up.
  3. Play your get-up-and-go music. We all know how music affects our mind and body in a positive way. It can change your mood, give you energy, and motivate you to reach higher. Play those tunes in the morning that remind you of your goals and why you’re doing this in the first place. And make music the soundtrack to your morning workouts so that you can be fierce and push yourself to the very end.
  4. Don’t make it a choice. Put simply, the big difference between those who get up and get it done and those who keep sleeping and feel guilty later is that morning exercisers Just. Do. It. It’s not optional. It’s not “Oh, if I feel like it, I’ll wake up and work out tomorrow.” They make the decision the night before. And when it’s time to wake up and go, that’s that. No fights. No compromising. No negotiation. It’s just something that they do. And you have just as much power to make that happen, too.

EVERYBODY’S GYM TEAM