Starting my post-Christmas exercise regime early means I’m ready for that monster turkey, writes Jim Duffy.
I’ve been afraid. I woke up this morning afraid. In fact, I’m more worried than Theresa May as she clamps down on porn at work. Mind you, having visited Westminster on a few occasions, the place oozes sex in weird sort of way.
So, like me, she should be afraid. But my fear is less about re-shuffling the deck-chairs on the Prime Minister’s Titanic of a Cabinet. No, my fear is Christmas Day. My fear is that time on Christmas Day when, having stuffed my face with Brussels sprouts, home-made gravy lashed with flour and butter, roast potatoes and wedges of turkey, I simply cannot move and I am in great pain. You know exactly what I mean.
You’ve done the presents-opening malarkey in the morning and geared up for hours for the food element of the day. Your stomach has shrunk as you’ve “made room” for that massive quantum of food that one can squeeze on a plate – only at Christmas.
Then you start despite knowing what it felt like last year – painful. But, undeterred, you will tuck in. You, like me, will devour too much food to the point where it feels that your stomach will burst. Then you have that post-Christmas Day meal low, where you lie on a chair, couch or bed trying to find a comfortable position to ease the phantom pregnancy that has gripped your tummy.
Because you know only too well that turkey sandwiches will be served about 8pm and you need to get prepared. Yes, you are now feeling that Christmas Day pain with me, aren’t you? But, it gets worse. You will eat a zillion calories over the period. There is a good chance you will put on weight. And that just turns the physical pain it took to achieve that into mental pain. Now you know how Theresa May feels every day! But, this year I have put in a fix. This year I have put in a patch. This year, I have planned for the pain and made sure I am ready.
How? Well, since Monday, I have been up early doing a 35-minute HIIT session. HIIT meaning High Intensity Interval Training. It may sound a bit technical and too athletic, but it could be a life-saver on Christmas Day. Oh yes, I know the pain is in the wind, but I’ve accepted it because I reckon I’ll be fit enough to handle it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy getting up early to do press-ups. Far from it. But I do enjoy the smug feeling I get after the workout because I know I’m getting thoroughly prepared for Christmas Day.
It goes a bit like this. Three minutes of intense exercise with 30 seconds rest. Then repeat 10 times. There is a mixture of shadow boxing, on-the-spot sprints, press-ups, planks and many variations of these. I’m working my cardiovascular system as well as toning my tummy, legs and bum. I’m also strengthening my core and back.
And all this is completed within 35 minutes. All the blurb and verbiage online tells me that HIIT training – if done correctly – keeps my body burning calories throughout the day. How good is that? And not a gym in sight. Haha! Yes, no gym fees or having to worry about what to wear. I do my HIIT with my partner on the patio outside. Yes, it can be nippy and a bit windy, but the fitness gurus tell me that training outside is good for building up tolerances to colds and flu. Let’s see eh?
And that segues nicely into that other guilty feeling that occupies our minds at Christmas dinner and over the whole festive period. A guilt that is heightened by the additional advertising and marketing of the gym companies. Yes, as we all know, gym memberships rocket in January as all the guilty people sign up to start a new year afresh. Yes, to start a new year in trim with all that Christmas-eating washed away by hours in a gym – maybe.
But, having done this for years, I am now even more smug. My proactive approach – in starting my daily HIIT regime before Christmas – means I am already one step ahead of the gym bunnies, while knowing that my festive increase in calorie intake can be handled at the same time. How many of us fall into these patterns of behaviour every year where we eat and exercise in cycles? Maybe this year, you too can feel a bit smugger if you start something today. When I worked with start-up entrepreneurs, one of the best tips I could give them was just to start. Do something, take action, put a decision into practice. And so you today – three days before Christmas and before the gym adverts start to appear – can take action and by 3 or 4 January you will be well on your way to being fitter and healthier. And all this while ‘enjoying’ the pain of Christmas dinner and those turkey sandwiches.
Whether you decide to go all in and try HIIT or metafit is up to you. A simple walk for 30 minutes a day followed by some light stretching can get you started. Then you can do some research online to find a few exercises that work for you. Google HIIT workouts and a whole load of videos will pop up and show you how to do simple exercises in your own home or garden without any equipment. So good luck from Mr Smug, who will face Christmas dinner this year, knowing he’s ready for extra gravy. Let’s make sure this next 12 months is a time when we all break seasonal cycles and get fitter.