Perfect your Christmas body & get rid of the festive bloat
It’s been a while since I wrote a fitness post and to be honest, although I’ve still being going to the gym – it’s been a while since I felt very enthusiastic about it. I go through serious phases when it comes to working out, for a while I’ll be really into it and working towards a goal, almost to the point that I’m overdoing it. Then suddenly I’ll lose all motivation and barely be able to muster up the energy to bother. I always push myself to carry on, but when you can’t be bothered, you sort of wonder what is even the point. My last phase like this happened after the summer, I had a busy couple of months of trips all over the place (including my visit to Ireland for a wedding) which meant my routine was all over the place and I couldn’t get there as much as I would like. Plus the fact that I was spending a lot of time eating rich foods and drinking meant I really didn’t have the energy to work out.
After a few months of going through the motions rather than enjoying my workouts, I seem to be back on top of my game and raring for action. I think perhaps my fitness lull was caused by the weather – when things started getting autumnal, I instantly wanted to spend all my time in bed with a hot chocolate and watching Netflix. Now the weather actually seems to have warmed up again and I’m finding I have more energy to do stuff – either I’ve got used to winter or I’m more affected by the weather than I think! For some, December is all about letting the flab spread and digging into the mince pies. I won’t lie – I love Christmas food. I love mince pies, Christmas cake, turkey sandwiches, loads of gravy and Yorkshire puds – and don’t get me started on the cheese! (hyperventilates) So as you can tell – I’m not the sort of girl to give up these delicious foods and I don’t see the point in diet versions to be honest. But I do believe in upping your fitness game to match what you are eating.
If you want to eat twice as much as usual – which, let’s face it is VERY likely at this time of year – then you need to get to the gym a bit more and build more exercise into your daily routine if you want to fit into that dress for the Christmas party. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with putting on a few extra pounds at Christmas time, and I know I certainly will. But my main goal is reducing how bloated and sluggish I feel after eating so much. I hate that feeling when you’ve done nothing but eat for a week without working up a real appetite – so I make sure I work out, walk, dance, jog and exercise along the way as well. I’m usually not too concerned with how big my belly is over Christmas because quite frankly I love jumpers and scarves so it’s never on show. But bear in mind, I will be spending January on a beach in my bikini in 2015 so having a huge bloated belly is not high on my Christmas list this year. After a request from a reader, I thought it was about time I shared my latest fitness routine!
So what is my latest workout?
I like variety so I’m enjoying mixing up my cardio workout, but most importantly I’ve managed to get my mojo back with running. Now I’m trying to run for around 30 minutes, or do interval stints of a minute walking and four minutes of sprinting for the same length of time. I alternate this with half an hour on the crosstrainer using different programmes which target different areas of my body – either the interval or the gluteal ones are my favourites.
Once I’ve completed one of these, I tend to add on a bit of cycling or rowing – usually around 15 minutes. I like to go until I have jelly legs.
A weights workout is very individual and I use a personalised programme courtesy of my friend who is a personal trainer. As I have improved and moved up weight groups I have changed it accordingly. I start my leg workout doing two reps of 12 on the Leg Adductor followed by the same again on the Leg Abductor. This is followed by the Leg Press on which I either do two reps of 12 where I stack the entire weight (proud of that I am) or I do pyramid training. Plus a few squats thrown in for good measure – I like to use a weight when doing mine.
My arms workout is made up of two reps of 12 each on the chest press, bicep curl, shoulder press, tricep dip and lat pull-down. All of these are on various weights but yours will depend entirely on what you can lift. I do also sometimes swap these for free weights to change it up a bit.
My abs workout is my favourite. I start with side crunches off an exercise ball – doing 25-50 on each side depending on how much time I have. This is followed by long arm crunches off the ball using a 10 weight, plus 40 Russian Twists on the ball using the same weight. After that, I move to a mat on the floor where I start by doing around 20 long arm crunches with the same weight, 20 regular crunches, 20 crunches where I reach for my knees and 20 where I reach through my legs. After this, I do 40 twist crunches (not sure of the name for these but each elbow reaches to the opposite knee) followed by 20 crunches with a leg extension for the lower stomach. This is all finished off with another 40 Russian Twists using the weight, but this time on the floor, and some leg extensions off a bench.
I always finish off with some stretches for my back, legs, arms and particularly my shoulders. I do a few pilates stretches I learnt when I used to do classes, and the rest is done on one of the stretch frames we have in the gym.
I like to have a gym workout at least twice a week or I feel lazy – it just shows how used to my routine I am! I’m also managing to fit another smaller workout, or a swim, in on the weekends now as well. I really am enjoying going to the gym again, and I enjoy it even more because it justifies eating lots of lovely food. I refuse to feel guilty for having an extra slice of cake and I never feel like I have to go work it off, because I generally am very healthy and I go to the gym enough to burn it off. I’m looking forward to finishing work in a few weeks so I can have more time to enjoy the pool and sauna at my gym over the coming weeks as well. Love food as much as I do but don’t want to have to buy bigger clothes for the Christmas party? Why not do what I do and balance all that food out with a few workouts? Don’t forget that you don’t have to hit the gym to burn off some calories – go dancing with the girls, or go for a long walk with the family… or why not just spend a few hours under the covers with your other half and burn the calories off that way?
What’s your fitness routine like over Christmas? Any workout tips you’d like to share?