Although I would like to say that I am 100% excited about getting fit again and it is all a piece of cake, I have to disappoint you. Getting back into exercise after a break is in every way as hard as I remember it to be. Juggling a baby and a whole lot of other balls in the air makes prioritising my personal health and fitness near enough impossible. And the times I make space for it, I have to be careful to not be overcome with a form of guilt. I know this trap so well and I have seen it thousands of times, yet it is difficult to avoid falling for it. I would highly recommend doing “Something” rather than “Nothing”, even if it is for nothing else than a change of scenery and proving to yourself that you won’t give up. I managed to get out for an interval run last Sunday, despite having a list of reasons why I shouldn’t go. I wasn’t out for long, I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but I felt such an achievement when I got back (plus re-energised and fresh). Reluctant to let go of my goal to get my fitness back, I have been looking for other alternatives that are quick and relatively easy to access and I have found yoga to achieve a variety of healthgoals.
I know people who swear by yoga, but for some reason it has never been my cup of tea. As your body and training requirements change with age, I have found that my muscles are more stiff and I certainly never take out much time to relax and focus. I thought I would try yoga and give it another go. Of course it would be great to go to classes over time but for now I am doing a 20 minute AM Yoga session or a 20 minute PM Yoga session (AM/PM Yoga DVD, by R. Yee & P. Walden) at home. It is supposed to be for beginners but -despite having exercised all my life- I find it nicely challenging. It certainly doesn’t feel like it is all “an easy way out” or an excuse to relax. Instead my body loves the stretches whilst my mind slows down enough to take stock and focus. It is excellent exercise for posture too and a welcome change from pounding impact from power walking and jogging. It has been a hugely valuable addition to my training activities and I feel the benefit for a variety of health goals. And with only 20 minute sessions, it’s easier to fit in.
If you are looking for an exercise session that ticks many boxes, give yoga a try. It will train your posture, especially core stability and flexibility, whilst slowing down your mind.
For those of you who read this Blog regularly, you know that I do not really believe in diets for the following reasons:
But, having said all that…..!
If you have a holiday coming up for which you just want to lose a few pounds and tone up to boost your confidence, feel good in your swimwear and you are prepared to pay the price for that, then try the following tips from the last minute summer sun diet! Remember this is not a lifestyle change but simply a mental and dietary focus so that you feel great on your holiday and so you can really make the most of it. Some enjoy the countdown style discipline in order to get to the holiday time and as a reward totally let go. Whatever works for you the following is a healthy way to restrict your calorie intake and get quick results.
Let’s face it. You are going to have a drink or two on holiday, so in order to prepare for that time cut out all alcohol of your weekly routine. It may sounds hard at first but if you have the determination to drop a few pre-holiday pounds this is one quick way to do it. Do bear in mind though that binge drinking is detrimental for your health. On the flip side, if you cut out all alcohol prior to your holiday you will be less tolerant to it when you get there, which may not be a bad thing.
Make sure you are hydrated at all times. Drink water and/or herbal tea throughout the day, making sure you don’t go thirsty. Cut out all sugary drinks and especially diet drinks, which are filled with artificial sugars and make you crave only more sweetness.
If possible (and really try because this makes a huge difference) try not to eat after 8pm at night. The earlier you eat your evening meal the better, leaving enough time for your body to process the foods you have eaten.
Avoid complex carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. Avoid them especially at night time and if possible at lunch time too. Instead eat a wide variety of vegetables, prepared in different ways or raw.
Avoid any snacks that are extremely high in sugar and salt, but instead opt for seeds/nuts, fruit such as berries, cherries, apples, mango, a piece of cheese or cold meats. You may want to try protein drinks (just make sure you get a good whey protein) for in between meals
Last but certainly not least: exercise. Walk, cycle, jog or swim when you can (a minimum of twice a week) and if you have the opportunity try and be involved in resistance kind of workouts with weights or in classes. If you are new to exercise start with power walking and swimming at least 2 times a week. If you are an experienced exerciser then up your exercise investment prior to your holiday and set yourself a few targets to beat.
Unfortunately I won’t be joining you this summer, as my focus will be on having the baby out and then slowly rebuild my body! But I get a lot of questions regarding being able to do “something quickly” before a holiday, birthday or wedding. Try the above and if you stick with it, you will defintely get results and then go and have the best holiday straight after!