If the festive season sees you hurtling, train wreck-like, towards corpulence and toxicity, you do know it doesn’t have to be that way. CLAIRE O’MAHONY rounds up some solid expert advice to help minimise any drastic 2017 resolutions.
Hurrah for Christmas clichés. From Indiana Jones on the TV to office party misbehaviour, tut-tutting about the Twelve Pubs of Christmas and the unavoidable sparkly outfit, there’s a lot to love. Less appealing is the annual cycle of over- indulgence and bitter regret that sees us lurch from box of Heroes to bottle of Baileys, knowing that hard months of reckoning lie ahead, yet unable to stop ourselves from leaping, lemming-like, into a cheeseboard.
If you would prefer not to spend the early part of 2017 in stretch pants and block booking spin classes, the good news is that there is a simple answer – don’t be a glutton, keep working out, and put down the mulled wine. Simple, we said, but certainly not easy. Tragically, there is no magic bullet – no chia seed pudding, no vinegar shot, no ten-minute gym routine and no revolutionary way of eating that can negate scientific principles – eat rubbish, don’t move, and you’ll feel awful and gain weight. Physical health aside, there are aspects to Christmas that undermine psychological wellbeing, including unhappy family dynamics and the pressure to have the time of your life. But there are still painless pointers to take on board to help you stay on the path of healthfulness, in terms of mind and body. Adapting the middle ground is never the sexiest or most on-trend thing to do, but it does make sense.
HERE IS THE EXPERT ADVICE FROM JOHN BELTON.
John Belton is the owner and founder of No 17 Personal Training, on Dublin’s Merrion Square, and is one of the country’s most in-demand trainers.
PRIORITISE YOUR EXERCISE
That’s key. Have it booked in – we do everything on an appointment basis here, so you cannot give up on it. You treat it like any other meeting, no matter how you’re feeling. Even if you’re a little bit hungover, the next time you’re going into training, if you’ve got an educated and smart trainer, they’ll know how to speed up the detoxification process.
STEP AWAY FROM THE TV
Try and involve the family in some activities – ice-skating, for example. It can be difficult to get in your exercise, but there are a lot of resources for home workouts that you can do, just to get moving, even if you can’t get outside. Performing some sets of simple body weight movements like squats, press-ups and simple little jumping jacks will improve your insulin sensitivity and actually reduce the damage of certain foods and improve how you process and metabolise food.
YOU WON’T UNDO ALL YOUR HARD WORK WITH ONE WEEK OF “BAD” EATING
Don’t get disheartened if you do put on a pound or two over Christmas because the reality is you’re relaxing down and you’re taking in some extra calories after a hard training year – your body will probably thank you for the rest. Plan out your January training and your New Year’s goals and get stuck into them. Even if your body feels a little softer and doesn’t look quite as lean, you haven’t lost all that muscle tone, or the aerobic capacity you’ve improved, or the flexibility you’ve gained.
This article originally appeared in the December issue of IMAGE magazine.