With all the social gatherings, work lunches and family dinners, the month of December is all about indulgence. When we roll into January, we are bombarded with messages about transforming ourselves and so, we focus our energy on dieting and self-deprivation. But the new year presents opportunities for exciting plans and new goals that don’t involve making drastic changes to your looks or your life.
This January, instead of pushing yourself to get to a certain weight or depriving yourself of things you love to fit inside a certain dress, focus on nourishing your body (inside and out), and self-care.
We caught up with personal trainer Aidan Lyons of All Star Physique who revealed his top diet and fitness tips for the new year.
Do not go on a diet
Fad diets don’t work – they leave you hungry and miserable. Instead of giving up everything you love and restricting your diet, focus on adding nourishing food to your meals.
Foods such as salmon, lean beef and eggs are high in protein and rich in Vitamin B12.
Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and butternut squash are a great source of vitamins C and B6, which are excellent immunity boosters.
Don’t join a gym
If you love gyms go for it, if not then try other options. I work in a gym so obviously it’s an environment I enjoy going to, but if you know you won’t commit to going to the gym a couple of times a week, you need to find what works for you. By finding an activity you enjoy and a space that you enjoy going to, it will be easier for you to stick to it.
If you’re stuck for time, working out at home can be great. Simply invest in some home gym equipment, like dumbbells and you have an easy space to get your sweat on.
Find a training buddy. This could be your partner, friend or work colleague. Committing to a group training programme creates accountability and helps to keep you motivated.
Don’t go cold turkey
Your body needs food, food is fuel. Restricting and starving causes the metabolism to go into self-preservation mode and hold on to fat. I generally advise clients to have five meals a day, eating regularly helps keep your metabolism burning. It also stops you from crashing later and binging on sugary, processed foods.
Don’t change all at once
It’s great to want to make improvements to your life, whether it’s changing your diet or introducing regular exercise, but many people focus on a quick fix and try to overhaul their life in one night. Take your time. Make gradual changes.
If your goal is to be more active, go to an exercise class, a walk or run in the park, and don’t give up. I always tell my clients no matter how hard a session is, take the time to recover and come back for another one. It takes your body time to get used a workout routine.
If you’re trying to cut down on sugary snacks, whether it’s the two bars of chocolate you have with your afternoon tea or the three teaspoons of sugar you put in your morning coffee, reduce your portion by half for a couple of weeks. Keep reducing each week until you reach your goal.
Don’t regret the Christmas overindulgence
During the festive season, our eating and drinking habits aren’t at their normal level. There’s plenty of nights that involve alcohol and fried foods and sometimes the first few weeks of January are spent beating ourselves up over everything we consumed in December. Ignore your inner critic and start fresh.