With the holidays over, many of us will be looking to dump the extra festive pounds and get back into some kind of shape. This is a critical time, because what you do over the next couple of weeks can set up for either success or failure in 2017. So whether you’re just getting back on the wagon or embarking on a new journey to a healthier you, here are six post-holiday fitness tips to get you started on the right track:
1. Dump the junk
First thing’s first — get elbow-deep in your fridge and clear out all the sweets, pies and leftover holiday grub so you won’t be tempted to pick at it. Then head to the store and restock on healthy foods to give yourself the best chance of succeeding with your goals.
Now that you’ve cleared out your kitchen, it’s time to do the same with your digestive system. A 16-24 hour fast or juice cleanse will give your guts some much-needed rest and time to detox, setting you up for peak energy and performance over the coming weeks.
3. Flexibility first
You might be tempted to just start hitting the gym hard, but your joints and muscles will not be so eager. Kick off your first couple of days with some flexibility exercises like stretching, yoga or pilates, and keep the workouts light for now — walking or jogging is enough.
4. Buddy up
Motivation is going to be a big factor as you try to make fitness a habit, so stack the deck in your favour by pairing up with an exercise buddy. It’s easy to talk yourself out of a workout, but letting a friend down is another thing entirely.
5. Make a commitment
Another way to stay motivated and hold yourself accountable to your goals is to make them concrete and public. Sign up for a class at your gym or a local event (like a road race or triathlon), and you’ll have something tangible to work towards.
6. Schedule some fun
The post-holiday period can be a real downer as we begrudgingly return to responsible habits, and this can affect your attitude towards staying in shape. Schedule a few just-for-fun activities into your evenings and weekends to counteract all the hard work and lift your spirits.
The NOT-to-do list:
Most people make at least one of the following mistakes when they commit to getting in shape after the holidays. Don’t fall into the same trap:
- Crash diets. I know you want to lose those extra few pounds as quickly as possible, but extreme dieting will just leave you feeling like shit. A balanced approach is healthier and more effective, trust me.
- Too intense, too soon. Yes, I’m sure you’re capable of deadlifting three times your own weight, but your body won’t appreciate that kind of stress right off the bat. Build up to it through your first couple of weeks back in the gym.
- Impatience. You’ve spent the past 1-2 weeks taking it easy and indulging in rich foods, so it’s gonna take about that long to undo the damage and get back to peak performance. Don’t worry, that time will fly past.
Q: Got any post-holiday fitness tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments below.