Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Fitness

As promised by The Fat To Fit Radio Show...

Christmas Fitness

This time of year during the holidays is always chaotic and busy. It’s also a time where you want to be extremely indulgent with all the baked holiday cookies and treats. Health and fitness is not usually found at the top of Santa’s naughty or nice list. However, it’s important to stay focused and on track in order to reach your goals and continue a healthy lifestyle. Christmas is a time of celebration and a time of overindulging that often leads to New Year’s resolutions. If your fitness takes a backseat this time of year, you’ll probably recognize the following problems:

  •          Too busy with Christmas preparations to find time to exercise
  •          Enjoying the holiday season and using this time to overindulge
  •          Always getting invited to lots of indulgent Christmas parties
  •          January is when you try to make amends for your previous bad choices

If those problems sound familiar try these tips to maintain a healthy focus while you enjoy the Christmas celebration:
  •          Maintain exercise routines
  •          Time efficient exercise strategies
  •          Calorie savings ideas

It’s hard to maintain an exercise routine when you are short on time. Research has shown that a couple of weeks of maintenance training can result in minimal or even no fitness losses. In certain cases performance can actually improve after a short period of reduced training because the body has the opportunity to recharge and rebuild. Hence on returning to full training, you can find that you have renewed vigor and enthusiasm for your sessions. If you enjoy regular workouts, try the following tips for effective maintenance training:

·         Commit to stay fit- Plan, Inform, Execute. Plan shorter/frequent exercise sessions. Explain to your friends and family the changes you’re making, but also the importance of keeping your fitness going, and then put your plan into action.

·         A little exercise is better than nothing- Accepting that your workouts will be shorter but also realizing that they can still provide training benefits. Instead of completing two or three sets of each resistance training exercise, reduce it to one or two sets.

·         Resistance training workout-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 still afford to spare. Instead of relaxing and recovering between sets try carrying out complementary exercises during the recoveries, for example: alternating between muscles chest and upper back , biceps and triceps, abdominals and lower back, quadriceps and hamstrings.

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 cardiovascular workout 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-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 programs-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.

Christmas is always a challenge to keep your calorie intake at normal levels but with a little planning you can still enjoy all the festivities and keep the calories in check. Simply try the three calorie saving ideas below to keep your weight under control at Christmas...

·         Watch the home measures-If you only get three glasses of wine out of a bottle, your 80 calories a glass shoots up to 160 calories a glass, so stick to standard measures if you can.

·         Christmas trimmings-Standard potions of stuffing, combined with other trimmings such as bacon, sausage and sauce can easily total over 500 calories. Just  sticking to stuffing and using the roasting juices as gravy will slash those calories by half.

·         Christmas puddings-Christmas pudding and mince pies are delicious – and also high in calories. However, when smothered in brandy butter or double cream, the calories go through the roof. Try some crème fraiche or yogurt as an alternative and you cut out fat and save calories.

Most people will struggle with limited time and tempting fare at this time of year but with a little planning, the festive season can be enjoyed and healthy. By training smartly and following a few sensible eating strategies, you can maintain your fitness, balance out your calories and arrive at the New Year in good shape. Complements of the season and enjoy your exercise!

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