According to my kids, who are vigilantly counting down, Christmas is just over six weeks away.
The amount of times they told me this correlated with the amount of Christmas parties we added to our November-December calendar in the past week.
This time of year can feel like an uphill battle as far as your health and fitness go, but it doesn't have to be.
Food planning plus quick and adaptable workouts could be key.
If you are normally an early morning exerciser but extra evening catch-ups are making it harder to get up, do your workout at lunchtime instead. Or break your session into smaller parts.
Instead of one hour each morning, you might do 15-20 minutes in the morning, at lunch and in the afternoon or evening. You might only have 10 minutes to spare but that is still better than nothing.
Sometimes, when I am really time poor, I will squeeze three rounds of fitness in while making lunches in the morning or cooking dinner at night.
Example 1: 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 lunges, 10 rows, 30 second hover/plank or 10 opposing single arm and leg extensions. That's one round. Your rest time is food preparation time. Then go again.
Example 2: 30sec wall squat hold, 20 shoulder throws with light weights (like straight punches, alternating arms), 50 mountain climbers, 20 lunges with a knee raise, ab rotation with weight.
Instead of 45-minute all over workouts, do smaller workouts that target specific body parts like Monday leg strength, Tuesday arms, Wednesday cardio and core, Thursday legs, Friday arms, weekend cardio and core.
Legs: three rounds x 45 seconds each of squats, dead lifts, walking lunges, lateral leg raises (make it harder with a band), glute bridge.
Arms: three rounds x 45sec each of push-ups, bent-over rows with triceps kickback, shoulder press, lateral raises, biceps curls.
Cardio and core: three rounds x 45sec each of mountain climbers, ab crunch, skipping, opposing single arm and leg extension, burpees.
Get more physical activity into your jam-packed day by riding or walking to work (or parking further away to increase the walk) and scheduling walking meetings at work.
Keeping the diet healthy can be tough this time of year. It is when meal planning really comes to the fore.
Make meals that will last a couple of nights. Eat before you head out to a Christmas catch-up function where food is supplied and healthy options could be non-existent. If it is a family affair, I always make sure I take along an adequate amount of fresh fruit, salad and raw vegetables for the kids to snack on.
Make smoothies. This is a quick way to get a serve or two of fruit and vegetables into your and your family's day. My favourite is frozen mango, frozen banana, baby spinach leaves and milk or water.
The festive season is a wonderful time to catch up with friends, family and work colleagues but it does not have to be to the detriment of your health and fitness if you plan ahead and modify.
Upcoming Fitness Events
Variety Santa Fun Run, The Station, December 8: The event has 5km and 10km courses and is fully inclusive and family friendly. And what more incentive is there than that every participant gets a Santa suit to wear included in their entry fee.
Across the Harbour Swim, Newcastle harbour, January 26: It is the only legal way to swim across our busy harbour. Choose between the 700-metre single crossing or 1.4km double crossing.
Nobbys 2 Newcastle Ocean Swim, Nobbys beach, January 25: A 2km ocean swim between two of Newcastle's most iconic beaches.
Spring Sessions Week #11
With three weeks until summer, it is circuit time. 10 exercises, three times through. Work 45 seconds, rest 15. Add a one or two-minute break between each round.
Workout 1 (strength and cardio): Squats, mountain climbers, shoulder press, skipping, bent-over row, 10-metre shuttle run, weighted ab rotation, plyometric lunges, push-ups, burpees.
Workout 2 (strength): Squats, push-ups, lunges, upright rows, dead lift, shoulder press, bent-over row, wall squat hold, ab crunch, glute bridge.
Workout 3 (cardio): Pick 5 exercises and do six rounds.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.