At this time of year, most of us are knee-deep in festive indulgence. From snuggling on the sofa watching Christmas movies on Netflix instead of fitting in that run, to an extra helping at dinner, we’re all guilty of using the season as an excuse to over-indulge.
Come January, that regret kicks in pretty hard and we start to think about New Year health kicks, not drinking alcohol for Dry January, hunting out healthier recipes and renewing our gym memberships. Is it possible to have indulgent holidays without making the path back to good health that much harder to scale come the New Year? The answer is yet – here’s how to get your health kick off to a flying start.
Start Your Day Off With A Workout
The number one excuse for not exercising? We don’t have time to fit it into our days. And while it’s true that we all lead busy lives nowadays, making time for exercise is as simple as you make it. The best way to make sure it gets done is scheduling a pre-8am session. If you rely on leaving your workout until the evening, you’re working against lower willpower and being tired from your day, which make it easier to put it off. Starting your morning with exercise gives you a burst of energy for the day and means excuses are less likely to come into it. Waking up 30 minutes earlier isn’t that much of a sacrifice to make, and it gives you back a huge amount of health gains, from being able to fit in your exercise to drinking more water. You’ll also benefit from a metabolism spike that lasts throughout the day, meaning you’ll burn more calories overall for the same amount of effort, plus getting an endorphin kick that will see you sail through the rest of your day.
Focus on Weights, Not Cardio
Whether you’re wanting to get ripped like Erny Peibst or a female wanting that lean, VS-model physique, weights should be your new best friend. So step away from the treadmill and bring weights into your 2018 routine instead. You’ll build muscle, turbo-charge your metabolism, lean up all over and see your strength and endurance make leaps forward. If you’re wanting to avoid bulk, select moderately heavy weights and use short rest periods in between sets. Plan a full body workout but aim to focus on the glutes. As the largest muscle group in the body, training this area means a huge calorie burn that will make the most of your burn and quickly improve your endurance. Seeing results quicker is the best motivation there is. Although many beginners stick to the fixed weight machines, learning how to use the free weights properly can have much more of an impact. Explore positions such as a shoulder and chest press, a seated row, a glute bridge and a body weight squat. Rotate your sets each day to find muscles recovery time after a session, and make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet to support the development of lean muscle. With a committed training plan, you can begin to see results quite quickly.
Forget Daily Workouts
All those good resolutions tend to start with a promise to work out everyday. But not only is this tempting failure, but it can actually be counter-productive. Going from little or no exercise to working out everyday puts an enormous strain on the body, leads to early burnout and illness and can put you out of action with injuries. The best approach is to start with 2-3 sessions a week of 30-40 minutes, which you can then gradually increase as your fitness levels build. Forget go hard or go home, slow and steady really will get you the best results. Rest and recovery time is just as important to building muscle, so make sure you schedule a rest day in between each training session. If you experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Fatigue) you can use foam rollers and Epsom salts in the bath to help gently de-stress your body.
You need to see fitness as an holistic approach rather than just a training regime- so elements like proper nutrition, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated are also hugely important. Get the supporting elements right and you are much more likely to keep up your routine and see great results. If you get off to a strong start, your New Years fitness plan will be much easier to keep in motion, long after the last turkey leftovers have said their goodbyes!