With the excesses of Christmas behind us and returns to work looming, you might be starting to feel like you’ve overdone it a little.
While the piled-high dinner followed by lashings of the extra-thick double cream on your Christmas pudding seemed like a good idea at the time, many will start to feel a little worse for wear as the new year approaches.
With that in mind, fitness experts have advised Brits on how to get back into shape after the winter festivities.
Unbelievably, one-third of Brits admit to doing no exercise at all in December, so workout regimes after the celebrations are recommended in order to maintain good health. Experts stress it is important to find motivation in January.
The health and wellbeing specialists who work for Fitness Volt have issued these five top tips:
Set specific times
Scheduling your workout time is a simple yet effective step. Getting back into the right frame of mind after the Christmas buzz is just one of the ways you will have to readjust, and it can certainly take its toll on you. So, without a gym schedule, it’s likely that you will make plenty of excuses to not partake in any exercise. Consider your day-to-day schedule and choose your workout slot based on where you have the most free time – this way, you can mentally prepare yourself as well as avoid any excuses that you are too busy. Plus, a planned exercise slot will ensure that your workload won’t take over, as it’s a given that you will be getting back into a busy work routine, too.
Don’t overexert yourself
While pushing yourself is usually encouraged in fitness, it’s sensible to not push yourself to the extreme, particularly after some time away from exercise. Whether it’s weightlifting or cardio, doing too much exercise can lead to overuse injuries including muscle strains and tendon injuries, thus making you a lot less capable of meeting your fitness goals. After some time off, it’s natural to not be able to lift as heavy or run as far – so it’s crucial to not let it discourage you, as you will soon gain your ability if you stay consistent with your exercise. As well as this, overdoing it can lead to a burnout in the early stages and make you dread a workout as opposed to enjoy it. If you feel yourself giving up, try to commit to five minutes and finish your workout if you don’t feel capable of doing anymore; but with this five-minute rule, it will likely motivate you to do more.
Personalise your workout
Fitness lovers aren’t necessarily all gym-goers. In fact, there’s plenty of ways to workout which don’t involve the gym – and this is key for making it an enjoyable part of your routine again. If you’re a nature enthusiast and wish to do more cardio exercises, go for a run – or even a walk – at your local beach, local park, or even around your neighbourhood. Alternatively, if you’re into strength training but don’t enjoy the gym atmosphere, invest in equipment such as dumbbells and kettlebells to work out from the comfort of your own home.
Finding a friend with similar fitness goals is beneficial for many reasons, one being that it acts as motivation after some time away. For the days that you don’t feel like exercising, a fitness partner can motivate you to get ready and get it done – plus, during a workout, your partner can even push you to take it to the next level, such as lifting a slightly heavier weight or increasing the incline setting on the treadmill. Having a partner can also keep you accountable to stay on track of your fitness plan, and recognise any goals that are yet to be met. Better yet, it makes it a time to socialise so that you look forward to it more, not to mention your partner can spot you to make your workout safer.
Set short term goals too
It’s always important to think of the long-term result; doing so allows you to plan your workout and figure out which exercises are best suited to your needs. However, having only a long-term goal can become frustrating when you aren’t seeing progress straight away, and can even result in you to give up completely – which is especially easy to do when you’re trying to get back into your routine. Therefore, it’s vital to set goals over shorter timeframes that are manageable, as well as not just focusing on your appearance. For example, you may wish to become stronger, so a short-term goal for the end of a month could be to increase your squat load by 20 kilograms.
A spokesperson from Fitness Volt, online resource dedicated to strength sports, said: “When it comes to Christmas, the last thing that needs to be on our minds is working out – it’s a time that we wish to be spending with family and friends, and it’s important to make the most of that.
However, it can be difficult to find our motivation to get back into it from some time off.
“Thankfully, there are simple steps that can increase your ambition again as well as make your workout more enjoyable to ensure that you can stick to your fitness routine in the new year and, as a result, enjoy the Christmas festivities without feeling guilty.”