“Why not?...It’s Christmas!” we say as we tuck into our second helping of stuffing and gravy, or when offered another piece of cake or glass of champers. We’ve been so good all year...don’t we deserve to treat ourselves? It’s also the end of the year, so we give ourselves one last chance to splurge before we get serious about our health and fitness with yet another New Year’s Resolution.
It’s summer, so chances are you’re going to want to stop the Christmas pudding from wedging itself around your waist (or bum or thighs). Follow these tips to help you battle the bulge this silly season:
TIP 1. Set your sights.
Resolutions can happen anytime, but you’re much more likely to stick to them if you actually set goals. None of this airy fairy “I want to get fitter sometime” type of goal. Get specific and give yourself a time frame eg. “I want to fit into that dress by cousin Debbie’s wedding”.
When you have a goal it’s easy to make decisions. Your choices will take you toward or away from your goal. If you’re struggling to get out of bed, tossing up whether to work out, or deciding if you really need that second helping of dessert, remember your goal. It is worth it.
TIP 2. Don't wing it!
Get yourself on a program and stick to it. You can tweak it a little as you go, but it’s helpful to have something to follow. Be accountable to yourself, or better yet, someone else, every day.
Be realistic about how much time you have and what you can do. All you need is a few simple exercises and half an hour a day. You’re more likely to stick with it if you choose exercises that you enjoy!! You can get some great programs from Springday or find a trainer or bootcamp in your area.
TIP 3. Make a date with yourself
You have a much better chance of sticking to your exercise routine if you prioritise and book it in every week. Block that time off in your calendar at the beginning of the week and don’t give it up! Do the same with scheduling some relaxation for yourself, maybe a massage or just some time to settle down with a good book.
TIP 4. Get moving - like you mean it!
It’s all very well to strengthen and tone your body, but with a layer of insulation over the top, no-one will ever see the fruits of all that hard work. The bottom line (pun intended) is cardio. Get your body moving at least 5 times a week to burn off the fat. And not just a slow jog… work up a sweat and challenge your body to make it change.
Remember to train within your own limits, though. High intensity for someone else may be either too hard or too easy for you. Listen to your body. A great, efficient way to get cardio is through interval training. You can get a fantastic workout in about 20 minutes with a skipping rope or a set of stairs.
TIP 5. Tone up the 3 Bs
- Firm up your Butt – At some point, if you’re going for a swim this summer, you’re going to have to drop your towel (if you want to use it when you get out!). Drop it with confidence, especially after you’ve toned up your glutes and thighs. Step-ups, squats and lunges are great for this area.
- Flatten your Belly – Strong abdominal muscles will hold all your insides where they should be. This will help your profile, whatever you’re wearing. Try abdominal curls, planks (don’t forget to drag in your belly button when you do them) and bicycle exercises. Pilates classes are also fantastic for your core.
- Lose the Batwings - Cut out the jiggle by strengthening your upper body. Try a combination of push-ups, pull-ups and arm raises. Add in a few triceps dips and arm curls and you’re covered.
TIP 6. Be ready for the weak moments.
Remember, after a hard workout, your self-control has taken a bit of a hit. It gets tired, just like a muscle. After a tough workout where you really pushed yourself, it’s harder to say no to that muffin at the coffee shop. Plan a post-workout snack of fruit or juice (something you really like) so you don’t undo all that hard work.
TIP 7. Divide and conquer.
We’re all busy and I understand how hard it is to squeeze in a full workout every day. If you can’t get your whole routine done in one go, break it up. Do your squats while doing the dishes, your lunges down the hallway and your ab exercises in front of your favourite TV show. You can even split your cardio into 10-minute blocks.
TIP 8. Ho!Ho!Ho! all year long.
Bring a little of the “silly season” into your everyday life so you can live a little! It’s no fun restricting yourself all the time. Make plans so that you build in opportunities for treats and rewards.
This may be by giving yourself some time to relax after your workout, or it could be letting your sick chocolate addiction have a tim-tam once or twice a week. Knowing the treat is coming and it’s “legal” means you’re more likely to stick to your plan the rest of the time.
Long live silly!
Make your fitness and health a priority and stick with it by making it fun and keeping yourself accountable. Drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep and make 2012 the Year of YOU!
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