It’s almost impossible not to overindulge during the festive season, especially when there’s a delicious feast laid out. Chances are you might feel a little guilty from the slight weight gain and your clothes may be a little snug.
But don’t feel defeated. Whether you’re looking to tone up your muscles, boost endurance or shed a kilo or two, here are some ways to help you live healthier.
1. Set a goal & start a regular fitness programme
- It’s tough to get out of a sedentary rut but what’s most important is taking that first step. Plan and commit to your fitness programme as consistency is key to seeing results! Set a schedule – 3 times a week or even daily depending on what you’re comfortable with. Even if you have a jam-packed day ahead or on a time crunch, a little exercise is still better than nothing. Ten minutes is already sufficient to get your sweat on! Science has shown that doing mini workouts throughout the day are just as effective as one long workout.
- Keep your workouts fun and exciting by incorporating something new into your regime. Apart from regular cardio and strength training, you can include High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), yoga, dance or even your favourite sports like swimming, badminton or football.
- The little changes you make in your daily life can help you stay active and fit. Instead of using the lift at work, take the stairs or walk to your nearby shop instead of driving. As these little things add up, you won’t even realise you’re burning extra calories.
“Plan and commit to your fitness programme as consistency is key to seeing results!”
2. Don’t overdo long-distance cardio
- Avoid this mindset trap – “Oh no! I need to jog longer today” upon seeing an increase in scale weight. This could make you burn more muscles instead of fat.
- Take up a new activity such as spinning, strength and conditioning or even a martial arts class to help you work off the extra calories you’ve consumed.
- Try calisthenics exercise. It uses your bodyweight (like squats, crunches and push-ups) and gravity as resistance to help strengthen your coordination, strength, endurance, and flexibility.
You can follow along this routine from AIA Live on your next workout sesh:
3. Work out with a buddy
- Many people are under the impression that their fitness journeys are something to take on alone. But after a while, exercising solo can get boring and you might even hit a plateau. So why not workout with a buddy? When you work out with a partner, you’re more likely to feel more motivated, less stressed and have more fun.
- Have a partner (friend, family member or colleague) and turn fitness routines into a healthy competition with a points and reward system for when goals are hit.
“When you work out with a partner, you’re more likely to feel more motivated, less stressed and have more fun.”
4. Always stay hydrated
- Stay consistently hydrated throughout the day so your body can digest and absorb nutrients better. Be sure to drink enough water before and after an intense workout!
- Avoid caffeinated, carbonated and sugary drinks such as soda or even box juices – the sodium and hidden sugars found in these drinks are empty calories which will not help with absorption, weight loss or hydration. Substitute with fresh citrus fruits or berries infused in your water instead.
- You can also opt for coconut water to replenish electrolytes for post-workout recovery. However, do take note of the sugar content in bottled or packet coconut water as it will not be as hydrating or effective as its natural counterparts.
5. Have well-balanced meals
- No matter what your fitness goals are, it’s important to eat nutritious, well-balanced meals. Include complex carbohydrates (brown rice & quinoa), fibre (fruits & vegetables), protein (poultry, eggs & fish) and healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil & avocado) to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs after a vigorous workout.
- Cut out junk foods high in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates (most of which are empty calories) which can affect your exercise performance by draining your energy, contributing to weight gain and increasing the risk of chronic diseases.
Remember, your desire can only take you so far. What’s important is discipline and hard work! Without scheduling exercises for a well-rounded day, eating well-balanced meals and getting adequate rest, there’s a slippery slope back to where you started. Keep yourself motivated with these tips – we’ll be rooting for you as you move well and eat well!