There is no denying that the staying on top of your health and fitness regime is HARD during the festive season. For one thing, it’s cold and dark and who wants to get their bum down the gym in those kind of conditions. Secondly, the number of parties and social events in most people’s calanders tend to step up a gear at this time of year meaning more food, drink and general merriment. Bah humbug say my abs.
Here are my top tips for getting the balance right and managing health and fitness without losing out on having fun:
💗 Indulge in moderation. If you deprive yourself then you’ll only binge later. Plus, there’s no fun in being the only one at the party who won’t indulge in a treat. If you want something; eat it. Just eat one or two (or a slice – don’t eat one or two Christmas puddings!!) and use your common sense as to when enough is enough.
💗 Work it off. I tend to work with my body on a kind of negotiation basis. ‘If you eat that baked Camembert you have to do 50 burpees in the gym tomorrow’ and so on. And then I make sure I follow through on my promises! Setting these kind of guidelines ensure that you work off any extra calories which might cause weight gain. I also love sweating it out in the gym after I feel like I’ve over-indulged – it helps get my body feeling normal again.
💗 Watch those proseccos. Alchohol – the invisible calories. And my enemy. I’m not saying don’t drink – just remember to take those few
bottles glasses into account when you’re doing your negotiations for the gym tomorrow. On that note, you may not exactly feel like the gym tomorrow. Do not give in to the hangover. Get up, get out, work it off, start again!
💗 Don’t stuff yourself silly. There’s nothing worse than, when you’ve enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner cooked with love and maximum effort, feeling sick as a dog because you wanted just one more pig in a blanket. Eat by all means. But don’t eat until you feel ill. It’s not good for your health or your waistline.
💗 Be chilled. You might get on the scales on 28th December and shudder a bit. Chill out. It’s normal to put on a few Christmas pounds. You’ll just have to hit the gym even harder in January.
Above all, enjoy yourself and have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.
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Quite often, these days, my workouts are rushed. Now that I’m teaching full time my days are long and my midweek gym sessions are squeezed in at 6.30am before I get the bus to work or quickly on the way home before tea and eastenders! I usually concentrate on having long sessions on Saturday and Sunday (at least 1hour) where I work specific muscle groups like legs or upper body – but in the week it’s usually a 30 min full body blast. Therefore I need to do a workout that works my whole body and gets my heart rate up quickly – no messing.
There are benefits to this kind of workout and although I’m not exactly an expert on all the technical stuff I know that doing high intensity exercise and getting a good sweat on, even if it’s for a short period of time, can burn just as many calories as a longer session of lower intensity.
So, here’s one of the workouts I do in my 30 min blast sessions. It takes roughly 20-25 mins which gives me a bit of time to warm up before and stretch after.
Completely 10 reps of each exercise in a circuit. Then move on to 9 reps of each, 8,7 etc descending until you finish with one of each.
PUSH UPS (picture A)
BURPEES (push up + jump up picture B)
BOX JUMPS (picture C)
TRICEP DIPS (picture D)
There is no set rest period in between circuits – I just do it as quickly as I can with a few short breaks for water etc.
Trust me, this is a total killer, whatever your fitness level. It’s hard but worth it – and such a sense of achievement when you’ve completed it! You can put in any exercise to this format to change it up and work different muscle groups.
Let me know if you give it a go?!
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Some of you may know that when I started working out in January 2016 it was inspired by my impending wedding and I was motivated by getting in shape to look hot for my big day! One of the things top of my list of flabby bits to tone was ARMS. I always struggled with confidence around my upper arms and always felt they looked flabby in certain outfits. This would not do in a wedding dress!
So, my aim – to get toned sexy arms weren’t too muscley or ‘stacked’. Contrary to popular belief, if you lift weights in the gym – you will not get stacked over night!! Seriously I know so many girls who avoid the free weights because they think their arms will get too big. Body building takes months or even years of constantly lifting and using VERY HEAVY WEIGHTS. Trust me, you’ll be fine.
I’m really pleased with how my arms look now – I feel that they are slender and I have some muscle definition but not too much growth. I achieved this by doing one upper body workout per week where I worked all the muscle groups in my arm, and by keeping the weights mostly the same or increasing by a small amount (1kg at a time).
My favourite arm exercises:
💙 Push ups
💙 Pull ups (assisted or non – depending on how hardcore you are)
💙 Tricep dips
💙 Bicep & Tricep curls using the cable
💙 Bar bell clean & press (great all body toner)
💙 Kettle bell swings (tones the whole arm)
The important thing to remember is it’s okay to start with very low weights. If you think about it – the Bicep and Tricep muscles on your body are actually pretty tiny compared to, say, your leg muscles. The key is to complete the exercise slowly and controlled with a weight that is challenging, but still enables you to complete the movement.
So, get down the gym and boss those arms. Being strong is sexy!
Do you like upper body workouts? What’s your favourite?
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Let’s face it – sometimes we just cannot get to the gym. This is something that I’m contending with a fair bit at the moment. If you read my Midweek Motivation last week I talked about falling off the wagon with a new routine and the fact that I can’t workout in the mornings anymore due to my early commute to work. I still go Saturday & Sunday and I make myself go at least one evening midweek too. The rest of the time, though, between planning, paperwork, dinner, spending time with my husband and actually having an hour to sit down and rest it’s not easy to get down the gym much more than that.
So, it’s really helpful to be able to set up and work through a little circuit at home. Nothing too long or labourious, just a quick burst while I’m watching TV to get my heart rate up and keep myself active.
Last night we did a little circuit of 30 press up/ 30 sit ups / 30 mountain climbers (inspired by Alex Crockford’s Crockfit HIIT sessions) and it took less than 10 minutes.
Although it’s not as good as a full strength and conditoning workout a little burst of cardio/high intensity interval training makes me feel much fitter and generally better about myself! Put it this way – I don’t feel like I’ve slacked quite so much!!!
Ideas for things you can do at home without equipment:
Burpees//squats//sit ups//plank//push ups//mountain climbers//jumping jacks
That’s all for today! Remember to come back every Wednesday for motivation to get you through the week!
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Sometimes you lose your rhythm in fitness. It can be anything, a change in routine, an upset, difficult period in your life or maybe just you’re really tired. For me, I’ve recently started placement in a school and I have to leave the house at 7am. Given that my gym opens at 6.30am this is not realistically enough for me to have a workout in the morning. I now go 3 times a week (one evening and both days of the weekend) compared to my old routine which was 5 mornings a week.
This has been a really hard upset for me, not just because I enjoyed it and it really set me up for the day but also because I had genuinely become a morning person ! I loved getting up early and thrashing all my stress from the day before out in the gym. It made me feel alive, and awake actually! These days I struggle out of the house feeling sleepy and lethargic. I’ve also noticed I’ve put on 3 pounds which has been upsetting me a bit.
HOWEVER, it’s important to not be too hard on ourselves and recognise our achievements so far! I’ve still lost nearly 2&1/2 stone and managed to maintain it. The first picture was taken in January 2016 and the second is now. It’s still an amazing achievement!
I figure I’ve just got to stop giving myself a hard time and understand that it takes time to adjust to a new job and routine.
Do you find it difficult to fit fitness in around a demanding job? What are your thoughts on this?
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