12 Days of Fitness!
Back in the earlier days of my instagram blog, I ran a feature "12 days of Fitness" in 2017 (!)
that had a post a day with a handy little fitness tip in it for the festive period.
In the spirit of tradition I'm going to run the feature again, re-vamped for 2020!
A blog-a-day might be a little excessive, so I've collated each day in a single post for easy reference
Do you have any festive fitness tips to share? I'd love to hear them!
Day 1: Plan Ahead
So the way I would work it each year is that the 12 days of Christmas takes place on the run up to Christmas, similar to an advent calendar? But alas, it does in fact historically take place from 25th December onwards.. who'd have thought eh. I can't be the only one?
Anyway, on Day 1 I encourage my fitness pals to Plan Ahead for the festive period. Basically, like, delicious food everywhere .. all the time. As much grief as it gets these days, it is actually O.K. to be mindful of what you eat and it is not obsessive to think twice about buying that extra yule log, or decline another glass of mulled wine.
Planning ahead can take a lot stress away from relying on 'willpower' to say yes or no to indulgences over this period. Plan day-to-day meals, enjoy spontaneous coffee breaks with pals. Plan the workouts, enjoy evenings under the blanket watching a crappy movie.
Use your iPhone, an app, or a good old fashioned diary, to plan your must-do's to help you enjoy your wanna-do's.
Day 2: Get Creative
When the dark mornings and cold nights trigger that 'hibernation' gene inside all of us, I like to add a dash of creativity to my workouts for my participants (or, I would if I wasn't in Tier 3.. heh) to keep things motivating. Same idea if you're unable to return to the gym or to classes right now, home workouts might not seem appealing these days (it's been a loooong year) but a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
I'd make fun festive challenges in my classes, like a circuit using Christmas themes instead of traditional exercises (tinsel twists/ russian twists, reindeer run/ bear crawls, chimney leaps/ long jumps). Or use acronyms to make up supersets, etc.
Or what about this core finisher to Gwen Stefani's Jingle Bells. Just short of three minutes, it is the perfect tune for a core cracker!
Intro + verse1: hover hold
Chorus: plank mountain climbers
verse 2: walking plank to hover
Chorus: plank mountain climbers
Middle 8: hover toe taps
Chorus + outro: plank mountain climbers
Have fun ;)
Day 3: Supplements
Basically, take advantage of festive flavours or limited edition Christmas bundles at this time of year.
Equip yourself with a high-protein snack or shake to keep hunger pangs at bay and avoid reaching for something more calorie or sugar dense.
Day 4: Positive Vibes
Surrounding yourself with positive influences, especially at this time of year when low-mood thrives, is incredibly important. As a rule, I don't follow any Instagram and Facebook feeds that leave me feeling worse off than before I opened the app for a scroll.
So, find the feeds that inspire .. crafts.. sustainability.. equality.. fitness.. gratitude - the ones that bring out the best in us.
Day 5: Find your Flow
Whether it's for flexibility, recovery, or to dial-down the noise of the world for an hour or so, yoga cures all.
The number of folk I have engaged with on socials that say 'I need to stretch more' or 'my flexibility suuuucks' (myself included!!) .. I think we all have a little time for yoga in our lives.
Connect with local instructors who will welcome you into their live classes, or perhaps their online classes (it is 2020 after all) .. but if not, there are thousands of flows available to view on YouTube too. My good pal Laura is based in Aberdeen but is still streaming live classes.. she is fab, and nothing beats a live experience.
Day 6: The Power of Group Ex
So Group Ex has had a tough ride this year. Yes, gyms in general haven't had it easy but in the latter part of this year greater restrictions have been imposed on classes which means accessing workouts, for many, has been difficult.
Most of you will know, as a Group Ex instructor, I am an advocate of this type of exercise. It brings many benefits in addition to physical activity.. and I encourage anyone to explore all the different types and formats of Group Ex available at their gym or in their local area.
Gyms might be packed in the festive run-up and new year rush.. so give yourself that option to check-in on the Group Ex offering .. you might surprise yourself!
Day 7: Track & Monitor
How's that Day 1 'Planning Ahead' going? Mhmm..
Back in 2017 calorie counting was still all the rage. These days I see it gets a bad rep.. but at the end of the day, if it helps you stay accountable then you do you.. especially if it helps you 'plan ahead' and find your ideal balance of need-to and wanna-do.
MyFitnessPal is a good start, but your phone or activity tracker (FitBit etc) may offer that feature too.
Day 8: Find a Friend
Yeah, again, tough in 2020 to do anything with pals but buddying up for the holiday season is one of the best ways to stay motivated and help each other!
Find that one pal that will join you for workouts, running, walking, or just emotional support on the phone .. you never know, someone in your network might need your help too!
Day 9: What's your Excuse?
As soon as you lose your excuses, you can move on.
Here's some motivational quotes about excuses you might want to bookmark for when you're reaching for them.
Even better, rather than making excuses.. revisit your "why". What are your goals, why did you set them? Revisit those and you should have all you need to get the job done.
Day 10: Try Running
Listen, I hate running too, I do. But when the gyms are closed, a walk or a run is free to do, and it gets you moving. The only way to get better at it is to keep trying!
Use MapMyRun, Strava, etc to track your run!
Day 11: HIIT it!
A HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout is a fast and effective way to improve or maintain fitness, offer a decent calorie burn and you don't need equipment to do it.
There are free versions of Les Mills GRIT Cardio workouts on YouTube.. in fact, here's a playlist of all free Les Mills workouts (Merry Christmas, you're welcome)
Day 12: Selfie and Chill
Post your progress, take photos of you in your element. Video your workouts, flex on Fridays. Celebrate your body in all its glory - right now.