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Excess eating and less movement can see waistbands tighten over Christmas but fitness expert and life coach Kathleen Trotter, MSc, spoke to Express.co.uk about the best way to lose any weight put on over the festive period. She also shared an easy workout that can be done at home or in the gym to kickstart the New Year with.
Many people put on weight over the Christmas period and for those looking to shed the extra few pounds, Kathleen has a sustainable method to follow.
She said: “I think everyone has a different method of holiday health self-sabotage.
“Some of these include …
– Lack of awareness and letting life take over.
– Letting healthy habits become less of a priority.
– Buying into the ‘I am too busy’ mentality. Ditch that now. Yes, life is busy, and yes you may be too busy to get to the gym, but you can always find ways to be active. Something is always better than nothing. Go for a walk, take the stairs or do some calisthenics as you watch your child play their sport. You have to make and set your own priorities and boundaries. If you don’t, someone else will.
– Falling into the ‘all or nothing mentality’ – the ‘either I am on my health horse or I am not’ mentality. Don’t let one less-than-ideal choice spiral into five less-than-ideal choices. If you have a glass or two of wine, no problem, but don’t let that snowball into six glasses and four desserts. Lean in to the idea of moderation.”
For those who have fallen off the “health horse”, Kathleen suggests correcting it “ASAP”.
She explained: “Have a few glasses too may at your Christmas party? No problem. Get back to the gym the next morning.
“To paraphrase what James Clear says in Atomic Habits, one missed workout or lapsed habit is an anomaly; two is the start of a new habit. Start again ASAP.”
How can you lose the holiday weight in a sustainable way?
Kathleen said: “Create systems for success. Health and fitness don’t just happen. You have to create systems to save yourself from your future less-than-motivated self.
“Motivation and willpower are not reliable. You must create systems that save yourself from your future tired, frustrated, ‘screw this goal’ self.
“Once you use that system enough times it becomes a healthy habit.”
She also advised to “set up systems so that you’re less-disciplined self has no choice but to follow through”.
Examples include …
– Not bringing food into the house that you don’t want your future self to eat.
– Piggybacking workouts onto something you already do (e.g., turn your dog walk into a workout or take conference calls as you walk).
– Eating from smaller plates and drinking from smaller glasses.
– Portioning out your snacks, especially when watching TV.
– Sleeping in your exercise clothes to ensure your morning workout is as convenient as possible.
Kathleen’s simple home workout for anyone starting a weight loss journey or new health kick:
She said: “Try a combination of Tabata intervals and strength work using a resistance band.
“Tabata is a type of interval training that can be done anywhere without any fancy equipment. With intervals, you alternate between bouts of high-intensity and low-intensity training.
“One round of Tabata is four minutes. You alternate between 20 seconds of all-out work and 10 seconds of recovery.
“Tabata can be done outside as you run or bike, and/or with cardio moves in the comfort of your own living room.”
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Warm-up with five minutes of walking, dancing or old school aerobics. Get your blood pumping.
Do two to four sets of Tabata. Try running your household or condo stairs or doing burpees, squat jumps or jumping jacks.
Do the below circuit once through with no break. Take a minute to have some water. Repeat one to two more times.
1. Seated V hold and rows, 12 to 15 reps.
Sit on your bum with the band hooked around your feet.
Hold one end of the band in each hand.
Lean back 10 degrees and hold the lean throughout the motion.
Engage your core to stay stable.
Use your upper back to row your elbows backward.
Imagine cracking a walnut between your shoulder blades. Slowly release.
2. Lunge and lateral raises, lunge and front raises, 12 to 15 reps per leg.
Start standing. With your right leg forward and the band under your foot, hold either end of the band in each hand.
Start with your arms straight down at your sides.
As you lunge, raise your arms to the sides to shoulder height — keep them straight (lateral raise).
Lower your arms as you stand up.
Use the muscle at the front of your leg to power you up.
When you do the exercise with your left leg forward, straighten your arms forward to chest height (front raise). Reverse.
3. Squat and biceps curls, 12 to 15 reps.
Stand on the band with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand.
Bend at your hips, knees and ankles, and sit backward like you’re sitting in a chair.
Do a biceps curl as you squat.
As you stand up, straighten your arms.
4. Overhead triceps extension, 12 to 15 reps per arm.
Stand holding one end of the band in your right hand.
Reach your left hand behind your body and anchor the band.
The closer your hands are together, the harder the exercise will be.
Keep your right upper arm into your right ear as you straighten the arm. Slowly release.
Kathleen Trotter’s book, Your Fittest Future Self: Making Choices Today for a Happier, Healthier, Fitter Future You is avavilable to buy on Amazon.
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