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Your pre-Christmas work-out

How to beat the bulge if you over-indulge with these expert tips

Adam McLoughlin, personal trainer at Clayton Hotel Sligo

“Many people deciding to start their training to get ready for Christmas make the mistake of thinking they have right up until 25 December to reach their goals. Realistically the festive season starts around the first week of December or even late November.

“Once December comes around nights out will get more frequent and training will become less frequent. The weather tends to get a lot colder and wetter, and this leaves us with that horrible decision of whether to go to the gym after work or straight home and put the fire on.

“I find the best thing to do is start your training early and set that goal date for early December. This doesn’t mean that as soon as December hits and you have reached your goals that you can stop training and eat everything you see. What it means is that if you start to miss one or two training sessions or cheat a little on your diet you don’t need to feel bad about it as you have already put in the good work and now you are just maintaining your shape for the holiday season.”

Tom Dalton of TD Fitness

Opt for 80/20 – If you want to leave space for indulgences and still stay on a healthy track, the 80/20 technique lets you do just that. It allows you the space to go out socially and enjoy a meal, and it makes the whole clean-living thing feel doable during the pre-Christmas season. 80 per cent of the time you focus on eating clean, good for you foods, and 20 per cent of the time you have the freedom to indulge.

Get to bed – Even though it can be tough to drag yourself away from late-night parties, do your best to get home at a decent hour and aim for at least seven hours of shut-eye a night. Sleep is needed; it resets your body and keeps your immune system strong, so you can stave off cold-weather bugs and infections and keep on having fun.

Booze wisely – Alcohol is full of empty calories and tons of sugar, which can mess with all the hard work you put in with eating clean and working out. Save your calories for special occasions, and once you’re out choose smarter with light beer or low calorie cocktails.

Never go out on an empty stomach – When you arrive at a big, potentially indulgent dinner empty, you’re much more likely to over eat and grab whatever is in sight. Instead of showing up ravenous, snack on high fibre fruits and veggies, before you go out to keep your hunger in check.

Stay hydrated – Staying hydrated through the cooler months can suppress your appetite, keep your skin looking gorgeous, and even boost your metabolism. Drinking booze dehydrates your system, and drinking water helps your body recuperate faster.

Amp up your workout schedule – Combat indulgent nights and all that partying with an amped up workout schedule. Adding on extra workouts will help you burn more calories, stay on track with your healthy eating routine, and beat the inevitable stress that comes along with pre-Christmas shopping.

Fitness expert James Foley

Lift weights – Are you just doing Cardio to lose weight? Lifting weights gives you a metabolic spike for an hour after a workout because your body is trying hard to help your muscles recover. As your body is requiring more oxygen you will be burning off another 25% even after you finish the workout.

Cardio acceleration – A fast way to elevate your fat burning while performing a standard weight training routine is to insert short, intense spells of cardio throughout your workout. These ‘bursts’, placed every 15 minutes during an hour-long routine, help accelerate your metabolism both during and after your workout.

Mix it up – By constantly doing the same exercises you are in danger of making your exercises ineffective. When you engage in the same physical exercise day in day out your body gets accustomed to it. It is no longer challenged because it knows exactly what to expect.

Be an early-bird – Go to the gym in the morning, rather than after work. You will be less likely to skip it. Once you get used to moving first thing in the morning, studies suggest that the body adjusts and might even surpass its afternoon performance peak.

Use shorter rest periods – Aim for a rest period of 10-30 seconds between exercises. If you are new to training start off with 60 seconds. With each workout reduce the rest period of each set by 10 seconds by keeping the weight and reps constant.

Do more sets – If you are used to doing the standard three sets of 10, pick the first two compound exercises in your routine and try 10 sets of 10 with 60 seconds rest.

Sprint for success – Sprinting in short bursts is the ultimate way to lose fat in a short time. Try eight rounds of 20 second sprints with a 10 second rest at the end of your workout.

Take a power walk during lunch – As little as 20 minutes of low-intensity activity such as walking can give you a 20 per cent surge in energy.

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