Holiday time means indulgence – plenty of parties and plenty of food to go around – making it difficult for many to stay on track with their diet and exercise routine. If you’ve been overdoing it throughout the holidays and realise now is the time to get back into your healthy daily regime, good for you! At Village Gym, we have compiled a few smart, sensible and helpful tips to help you get back on track post-holiday season. Say goodbye to those too-tight jeans pre-New Year’s Day and hello to a healthier and happier you.
1. DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP
We are all guilty of having ‘cheat days’, and particularly during the holiday season, ‘cheat weeks’. The point is, don’t beat yourself up about it. You don’t need to get back from the holidays and feel you need to work off what you ate by doing hours of cardio. Shove those negative feelings aside and see things differently – this is your opportunity to start fresh and perhaps even try a new class or two.
2. GO SLOWLY
It is natural for the body to decondition itself after a break from exercise, regardless of how intense your previous workouts were. When you do get back into exercise, remember not to push yourself too hard as this can lead to injury. Instead, start slowly, eventually increasing the duration and intensity of your workouts as you progress. By trying a Village Gym class, including pilates or symmetry, you are easing you way gently back into your fitness regime. Carving out just thirty minutes of gentle exercise a day, or every other day, will give you the energy you need to get on with the rest of your day, plus help set the tone for exercising on a regular basis again. Plus, going slowly makes sticking to a fitness routine more likely and all those small wins will help to build your confidence.
3. CHANGE YOUR FOOD HABITS
Exercise and proper nutrition go hand in hand, so it is important to fuel your body with the proper nutrients from the right carbs, proteins and fats. Always remember to eat or drink something light and nutritious within 10-15 minutes of a workout to refuel your body. It’s also a good idea to start eating on a schedule, for example, eating breakfast within one hour of waking and then again every 3 to 5 hours helps to maximise your metabolism. This also helps to regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, and can level out your appetite to rule out unhealthy snacking.
4. DRINK MORE WATER
Staying hydrated is key for optimal metabolism and it can actually help to curb your appetite. As our bodies are made of 50-65% water, it makes sense to drink a minimum of 2 to 2.5-litres per day. Water helps flush excess sodium from the body, aids in de-bloating, and also helps to get things moving in our digestive systems to relieve constipation. There are just so many health benefits of water to list!
5. GET A GAME PLAN
There is no way around it, you need to get out and just do it (let’s thank Nike for that)! Setting a series of attainable and realistic goals will help keep up your motivation and momentum towards a healthy lifestyle. Either write down your goals using pen and paper, or use a fitness app like My Fitness Pal. Once you’ve achieved your first week of exercise, treat yourself to a small reward and keep up the pattern. Don’t forget it takes healthy habits at least three weeks for form, and once you have made it that far, you should be seamlessly back on track in your health and fitness regime.
6. SET A SCHEDULE
Unless you write it down, it isn’t real. Schedule your workouts just like you would anything in life that you wouldn’t want to miss. Use the calendar app on your smart phone or write it down on your kitchen calendar. The point is, pick a time and don’t cancel on yourself. This is your time to spend on you so why let yourself down?
7. DON'T FORGET TO STRETCH
Once back at the gym and feeling the many benefits of exercise, don’t forget to start and finish your workouts with a stretch. Stretching is an essential part of every workout and beneficial in avoiding injury. Just 10 to 15 minutes of stretching pre-workout will help to maximise your performance by loosening up your muscles, and a quick stretch post-workout will help to lengthen and relax tight muscles.
8. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY TALK
Note how your body is feeling once you begin exercising and to always respect its limits. If you experience any pain or strain, then stop exercising and seek your GP’s advice before starting again. Inappropriate management of injuries can lead to further injuries which may be more severe and require a longer recovery time.