Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas 2013 - DOUBLE BLOG: 10 Things to Focus On & 10 x Free 10 Min Workouts

So it's Christmas season and I'm feeling generous - here's a double blog to take care of you over the Christmas break and make sure you don't go completely off the boil with your health.

First up...

PART ONE: 10 Things to Focus on Over Christmas...

1) Exercise: Obvious right? My advice is just to "Get it done!" Most people will take advantage of the relaxed Christmas schedule and rise a little later than normal. But if their plan is a 10am breakfast of Cadbury's Heroes then it means you'll need to be out of the door at 9am and off exercising. One hour less sleep and you can have your workout for the day complete and be home in time to join in the usual festivities.
DON'T wait until later or plan to get it done "at some point" - it won't happen!

2) Hydration: Don't neglect the simple things. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and help your body to ease some of the strains you're putting on it with your week or so of excess. try to link drinks with daily events; for example: Target a pint of cold water within 10 minutes of waking, before you go to bed, and before lunch and dinner - that's 4 every day as a minimum. Add a pint of water every time you're going to leave the house for an extended period to ensure hydration and you're averaging at least 5 pints a day - make that a minimum.
DON'T leave it to chance and realise you haven't had much water today - ESPECIALLY when alcohol levels will be higher for many of you!

3) Turkey: Yep, that's right: "Target The Turkey!" My point being, go big on high protein, lean meats (turkey being one of the best for this)at meal time. It will offer you prolonged energy, aid recovery from exercise (you WILL need to exercise!), keep you fuller for longer and also curb your hunger a little before pudding shows up! Avoid taking your first few bites of any dinner from foods that aren't high in protein such as roast potatoes. If there's lean meat left, DON'T save room for pudding!
DON'T approach your days differently to your working week. have a plan for rough meal times and meal content ahead of each day. Leaving things to chance and eating "whatever's going" won't rub!

4) Sleep: Easiest one! Take advantage of the break from work (if you're fortunate enough to have one) and sleep where possible. Don't fear a day time nap - embrace it. Sleep is one of the easiest and cheapest medicines going; the value of sleep should never be over looked.
DON'T burn the candle at both ends and go back to work after your break, needing a break!

5)R&R: Following on from the sleep suggestion focus on taking care of your body. Spend some time foam rolling and stretching, doing yoga and pilates and generally making sure you feel in top notch for 2014. you might not have this much spare time or flexibility again for a few months.
DON'T waste this opportunity to really let your body recovery and repair ahead of 2014.

6) Fun: Don't take activity seriously all of the time. In fact, be creative and try to exercise elsewhere apart from your usual gym. Some of the workouts listed below don't require any equipment so why not head of to somewhere scenic and workout there for a change?
DON'T just head to the gym and go through the motions

7) Next year: Have a moment of reflection. What did you do with the last 12 months? Where did you start? Where did you finish? Are you in a better place physically than you were 12 months ago? How do you intend to improve again? What is your new "Why"? Get a focus for the year ahead and plan it out with micro plans of 1-3 months that will take you to your end goal stage by stage with no chance of failure.
DON'T just do next year what you did this year - life's too short!

8)Life: If you want to have a successful year ahead in terms of improving your health then it's important to have all other areas of your life in balance such as your work, family and other commitments. More often than not people struggle with results as their health isn't a REAL priority. They may say it is, but they're not willing to manage other areas of their life to MAKE time for exercise and living healthily.
"I didn't have time to go to the gym this week..."
"I was in a rush at lunch so just picked up..."
"I don't have time for breakfast in the morning..."
"I had to drink as it was..."
" I'm going to struggle to make the gym next week. I'm running my kids around..."
"There aren't enough hours in the day!.."
If you say these things, your health is not your priority. You need to plan in the inevitable and figure out solutions when met with barriers.
DON'T "try" to do anything next year... just do it! Plan with accuracy and thoroughness and create a fool proof regime.

9) Alcohol: Don't focus on drinking it; focus on being aware of when you're most likely to drink it. For example, if you're planning your exercise regime for the week then consider social occasions too. Don't plan an early morning sprint session on a day when you'll be recovering from a family gathering where you might drink. Likewise, don't drink "because it's Christmas" - you're not a child; have some self control. Sure, you may drink more than normal but remember, you don't HAVE TO drink! Try saying "no", then wake up the next day and workout - you'll be glad you did it. Just be realistic with your plans and don't instantly let lose on the alcohol.
DON'T see Christmas as a green light for daily drinking!

10) Embracing your surroundings: In my opinion, there is no better time of the year to get outside look around and listen to what's around you. Reflect on the year gone by, think about the year ahead and be grateful for what you have and how fortunate you are. Go for a walk, discover somewhere new, enjoy scenery and spend time absorbing your surroundings. Life can be very go-go-go... stop... be aware!
DON'T sit in all Christmas eating chocolate and watching repeats of Christmas films or playing with your newest toy!

PART TWO: 10 x 10 min workouts...

NB: ALWAYS take time to warm up first though with either a lower intensity of the exercise you're about to do such as tempo runs before sprinting or a mobility flow such as the two on the links below before doing resistance work. The warm up may last only a few minutes but it's necessary to get the most from your 10 minute workout.
Mobility Flow 1:
Mobility Flow 2:

WORKOUTS: 1) 10 x "1 minute 100's" : Run 100m in 15-17 seconds, turn and immediately jog back to the start in the remainder of the minute (ie: 45 sec jog if the sprint took you 15 secs), try to keep an eye on the time so that you make it back on time. When the second minute starts, turn and sprint again. Do this 10 times - much harder than it sounds.

2) Tabata Push and Core: Set your timer up for Tabata Intervals: 20 secs work, 10 secs rest x 8 (4 mins total). During the 20 second working periods alternate between these exercises:
A1) Push Ups and Tuck (as you perform the push up, during the upwards "push" motion lift one knee and raise it towards the wrist on the opposite side of your body, drop into the nxt push up with both feet on the floor and this time, as you push raise othe other knees under the body and across to the opposite wrist) Similar to exercise 3 here (link) but with push ups in between
A2) Plank and Reach

B1) Shoulder Press Push Ups (push ups with your feet standing nearer your hands to create an upside down "V" shape with your body. Lower the top of your head towards the floor rather than your chest) Exercise 10 here (Link)
B2) Frogs Exercise 12 here (Link)

3) Short Running intervals: Set your GymBoss or interval timers to sound every 15 seconds. Simply run as fast s you can for 15 seconds, walk for 15 seconds trying to slow your breathing as much as possible in that time. It might be necessary to break this into 2 x 5 minute blocks with a short rest between.

4) Tabata Pull and Core:
A1) Pull Ups or inverted row under a bar or tree or climbing frame A2) Side Plank on your left side
B1) Heavy Deadlift (find something heavy and pick it up with a flat back, heels planted flat and feet either side of the object. be creative: plant pots, logs, old Christmas trees anything "heavy".) B2) Side plank on your right side

5) Broken 1000m Row: Row 100m - Climb off and do 10 x heavy Kettlebell Swings - repeat for 10 rounds

6) Tabata - Legs and Core:
A1) Squats or jump squats (add weight if accessible)
A2) Laying Leg Raises

B1) Alternating Reverse Lunges
B2) Crawl Outs - (Link)  

7)10 x Minutes of 5 x exercises: 1) Push Ups, 2) Squats, 3) Plank 4) Walking Lunges, 5) Burpees - Twice Through with minimal/no rest

8)Tabata - Conditioning
A1) "Up/Downs" or "Suicide Push Ups" (start in a push up position climb down to a plank and then back up again as fast as you can as many times you can without your knees touching the ground) Exercise 21 here: Link
A2) Animal Crawl 2-3m Forwards and Backwards (Link)

B1) "Pop ups" - (Link)  
B2) Mountain Climbers (Link)  

9) Short variation of "Cindy" (it's a Crossfit workout"): 5 x pull ups, 10 x push ups, 5 x bodyweight squats - 10 minutes. Aim to do a round a minute every minute and you'll be doing well.

10) Walk. The easiest option going but if you at least walked every day that's streets better than the majority of the country. Add variety to it though - whether you add in some intervals, hill sprints, bodyweight exercises, combine walking lunges between regular walking, race a friend, take a dog and sprint around with them, whatever you do, just try to be active.

So there you have it - 10 things to focus on and 10 EASY to fit in workouts. You're telling me you can't sacrifice 10 minutes from your day?

You must REALLY want to be fit and healthy! (sarcasm intended!)

PRIZE for anyone that does all of the 10 workouts above and shares evidence of it with me (pictures along the way). I mean it - I'm offering to reward you for putting aside 10 minutes of your day! How easy is THAT!?...

Hope you found this useful. Feel free to share with your friends, family and networks.

Have a lovely break from Christmas... but not from life! Until next year....

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter  @MichaelD_PT and YouTube

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