As Chinese New Year rapidly approaches, most of us are of course excited and eagerly anticipating another festive period where delicious food and drink are aplenty.
However, there’s also an ever increasing number of us who are concerned about allowing all that hard running, gym work, or healthy eating to go down the drain over an indulgent week of feasting! Here are a few tips that might give you an idea of what to do before, during and after this awesome time of the year!
Before (Short and effective workout routines)
CNY is a time for close family…..…and distant relatives. All it takes a couple of weeks of effective workout routines to tone up and look the part, so that 3-times removed aunty of yours doesn’t give you stick about not exercising enough!
As basic as it gets, though as effective as anything a personal trainer could prescribe. Do it right, and you should get a nice workout for your pectoral muscles, biceps, triceps and shoulders. Aim to do three sets of 10-15 repetitions for this exercise. Progress this by doing up to six sets, or increase your reps to 20.
This is a great exercise if you’ve got a sturdy chair, bench or bed hanging around. Place your hands behind you on the chair, and straighten your legs out in front of you. Make sure to keep your hips are level with the rest of your torso. Lower yourself until your arms are at a 90-degree angle before pushing yourself back up to the starting position. Aim for three sets of 10-15 repetitions for this exercise. Too easy? Place a light weight between your thighs to make it more challenging.
The crown jewel of equipment-free exercise, squatting is a fundamental human movement. Not only do squats tone up your lower body muscles, they also help engage your core, improve your general strength and flexibility. Make sure you start with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your back neutral at all times, then, off you go. Squat down until your back can’t stay flat anymore, and push through your heels to return to standing. Try five sets of 10 squats to begin with, then increase the number of reps as you progress.
During (Indulge while keeping the calories in check)
Use smaller plates for portions
Have a weakness for Chinese New Year buffets? Using a smaller plate tricks your brain into thinking that you’ve got a big portion of food, so you’ll be less likely to pile on more than you can finish.
Drink a glass of water before meals
As tempting as it may be to pop a couple of snacks before dinner, you’re better off drinking a glass of water to quell any hunger pangs.
Feeling puckish whilst visiting family? Drop that biscuit and pick up a tangerine instead. At 37 calories apiece, tangerines will keep your sugar cravings in check without ruining your diet.
After (get back in shape)
Say goodbye to old-school cardio
“I feel fat, I’m going for a jog” is a common reaction to an increase in scale weight. This is of course, good for your cardiovascular health, but if losing weight is your main goal, long runs are an inefficient way of achieving this, and can even be detrimental to your muscle mass.
Switch to high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T)
Enjoy running outdoors? Instead of a slow to moderate paced 5km-10km jog, up the pace and run a higher intensity 5km. Alternatively, break it up into 200m sprints in field, with 15s rest periods in between. Try out 8 – 10 sprints.
Don’t stress out over weight gain after CNY
You’ve had a jolly good time, eating and drinking moderately to welcome the Year of the Dog. You’ve gained a few pounds. So what? Long term stress like worrying about a little weight gain and what people think about you has got no real beneficial outcomes for you. This type of stress puts your body into a state of weakened immunity, brain function, sex hormone levels and fat burning.
Instead, follow our tips, make better decisions over this Chinese New Year and exercise at least 3 times a week based on the recommendations given. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself!