Fitness At Christmas

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid…

But it is a great time to make positive decisions that will benefit your health and fitness dramatically heading into the new year.

It’s always a difficult time of year to remain focused on your health and fitness goals. It’s hard to get motivated to head out to the gym or for a run, it’s tough to avoid all the sugar rich and fatty foods (sweets, puddings and so much more), but the good news is that perhaps you don’t need to be too strict on yourself, perhaps there’s a way to balance out some of those treats – all in the comfort of your own home.

The average British person consumes 7000 calories on Christmas Day and sees an increase of double the calories for the 2 days either side of Christmas. Most people at this point have made the decision that by the time new years comes around, they’ll make significant dietary changes and start a regular training routine.

The problem that unfolds following this dramatic decision is the delay between Christmas and the beginning of that new years regime. The following 5-6 days are filled to the brim with leftover food, unhealthy snacks, party drinks and slovenly relaxation. They knock you back those extra few steps and make the eventual starting point of your “new years resolution” training and diet seem so much less achievable.

Here’s what we are going to do. Rather than lounging about ALL day, we are going to sacrifice 30 minutes every day (morning, lunch or evening, timing is irrelevant) for an intense home workout. We will repeat the same workout every day, aiming to improve exercise repetitions, form and technique, maximise intensity and difficulty and, as a result, increase calorie usage, increase muscle recruitment, improve body functionality and generally just feel more alive and enthused.

Fitness At Christmas – The Workout

It’s time to let in the light and banish the shade. With this workout we will be recruiting muscles from all across the body and mixing them together to achieve the best possible full body workout in the minimum time with the greatest efficiency and effort.

This workout is 30 minutes long being composed of a 5 minute warm up section, 20 minutes of intense training and a 5 minute cool down section. I will also include a link to an option flexibility routine that you’re welcome to try afterwards. Adding flexibility to your workout will reduce the risk of injury, reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) the following day and increase functionality and performance.

Fitness At Christmas – Warm Up

Perform each of these exercises in sequence for 30 seconds without a rest.

  • marching on the spot
  • jogging on the spot
  • high knees
  • spotted dogs
  • jumping jacks
  • small bounces
  • punching forwards
  • punching upwards
  • horizontal arm circles
  • jogging on the spot + punching

Once you have completed the warm up it’s time to move into the main section of the workout. It’s important that you don’t sacrifice form and technique for intensity and effort as with incorrect form you can risk injury and therefore scupper your training plans. Keep a bottle of water and a small towel handy throughout the workout to ensure you can hydrate in your rest period and keep the sweat out of your eyes.

Fitness At Christmas – Main Workout

Your aim with this workout is to perform each of the 8 exercises for 30 seconds in sequence followed by a 1 minute rest and repeat 4 times through. On your rest periods it’s important to hydrate and focus on getting as much oxygen in to your body as possible – so deep breathing!

For each main exercise I will include a “beginner” version in brackets for those who are less experienced with training or for the later circuits when your body is tired and technique is beginning to suffer.

  1. full sit ups (crunches)
  2. press ups (on knees)
  3. squats (sitting and standing)*
  4. burpees (burpees without the jump)
  5. star jumps (jumping jacks)
  6. high knees (walking high knees)
  7. walking plank (plank)
  8. mountain climbers (walking pace)

Focus on taking no rest in the transition between exercises, utilising maximum energy and effort driven into correct form and technique.

*use a dining table chair or an arm chair and, keeping your back straight, sit down and stand up repeatedly for the full 30 seconds.

Fitness At Christmas – Cool Down

The cool down section of the workout is exactly the same as the warm. Just repeat those 10 exercises in sequence for 30 seconds each and then, either try the stretching routine included in the video below, or you’re done!

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