Advent Challenge : tis the season...

Before you all jump up and down to dispute the title, we realise that the term Advent challenge from the 1st Dec is not strictly true as the first Sunday of Advent was on the 27th November.  However, as many of you will have children about to embark on opening up Advent calendars with choccies in them over the next 24 days to countdown to Santa and Baby Jesus’ anniversaries, and with the Christmas silly season well and truly upon us we wanted to invite you all to participate in a ‘just for you & the fun of it’ challenge.  Hopefully the daily reminders, challenges and tips on here will balance out any excesses the season has to offer and help to keep your fitness and wellbeing in tip top condition.

So as you deck the halls and play jolly!  Try and keep everything in balance to minimise the risk of putting on half a stone of fat over the next 24 (plus) days.

So, what do you do?  Simply, bookmark this page and return to it every day for a new challenge.  Aim to participate or take heed of the advice and enjoy your festive season, so that when you do get to the two to three days of Christmas, you will be able to kick back and enjoy!

24th December 2011 CHRISTMAS EVE – oh come all ye faithful!  Kick back!  Relax!  Let the festivities commence! messages still available from Santa for naughty and nice peeps and kidliwinks!  Merry Merry Christmas one and all xxxx

23rd December 2011 – dashing through the snow …… or not as the case may be!   Still time to sneak in a 20 to 6o minute workout that will leave your heart light and happy ready for the weekends festivities.

22nd December 2011  – Parties and food shopping for many; visiting relatives and taking the kids out for others; working long hours for many with the Christmas shutdown round corner.  It may not be easy to add in formal exercise today, so make the most of walking everywhere.  But think safety, especially if you have to travel home alone.  Try to stop consuming alcohol 1 hour before bedtime and ideally an hour before you travel – and drink water before you travel and sleep.

21st December 2011 – have you been able to plan in a group class as it is the middle of the week?  Bodypump, combat, circuit training, all give your muscles, bones and heart the workout it needs to balance the Christmas stress.  Remember an average mince pie is 300 calories – or at least 3 miles of walking/30mins of resistance.  Earn it and use it!

20th December 2011 – Vitamins!  Don’t get caught out with coughs n sneezes that spread diseases!  Lots of colourful veggies again with quality meat & fish.  Add in a multivit supplement if you are feeling peeky, or some CVit if that’s all you have as this will help your immune system.  Still time to exercise in amongst the mania – WARM UP and then drop to the ground and give us 10 press ups/10 planks and then 30 secs run on the spot! repeat 10 times!  Your heart will thank you 🙂

19th December 2011 – carol concerts; mulled wine and mince pies; the box of quality street open…..stand back!  Grab a satsuma or two!  Bit of salmon or other oily fish for lunch or supper today will make sure you have some good food inside you!  Exercise:  got some boxing gloves and pads – a great stress buster! As is run club at 9.15 today !!

18th December 2011 – so there may be snow on the ground or in the air, but don’t let that stop you being active!  A hearty Sunday lunch today will be welcomed once you have done some walking or playing with the kids!  Stack up on loads of veggies and a smaller portion of roasties today.

17th December 2011should we whisper… GET UP!!!  GET OUT!!! GO DO!  Go be active; swim; run; cycle (once the frost gone!) or come do Bootcamp today at 0845 – all good prep for the horrors of Christmas Shopping & blowing away a hangover!

16th December 2011 – apparently the busiest night for work parties!  With that in mind our advise is limiting damage!  Drink plenty of water today; eat well during the day too!  Slow your alcohol intake with a glass of water in between & stock up with some aloe drink and/or some Resolve!  Have fun, but think safety and get up early on Saturday to blow the excesses away with your exercising!

15th December 2011 – is the softly softly approach working for you?  If not, well then!  GO and skip rope today – 1 minute intervals fast, 30 sec active in plank position times 10 and then go and run for 20 to 40mins in 1 minute hard one 1 minute easy efforts!  Then you will have earned your cheeky quality street choc or two!

14th December 2011 – wide-eye Wednesday.  So after your meditation last night you will hopefully be feeling rested and chilled!  Time to make the most of that energy and get out and DO!  Whether it’s a dog walk, cycle ride, or perhaps joining our run group at Wodson Park at 9.30am today – just be proactive and do!  Cheeky lunches?  That’s cool, if it’s a big meal, make your evening meal smaller!

13th December 2011 – are you starting to feel a little stressed with all the Christmas prep?  Take time to do some meditation – which is not as scary as it sounds!  Simply remove yourself from distractions and focus on your breathing and nothing else and float off…. however, do ensure that this is performed away from cars and other bits of machinery that require your focus!

12th December 2011 – did you have a heavy weekend?  Perhaps today can be your ‘pause’ day?  Strip back all the excesses today; keep your food simple and fresh.  Drink plenty of water to flush through any alcohol excess of the weekend.  Remember your liver can only process one unit of alcohol out of your body per hour.  Definitely a day for kick starting your exercise for the week.  So choose something that will make you smile lots!

11th December 2011 – Are you a member of a local run or walk club?  Then make sure you get out with them today!  Exercising with a group will bring the socialability into it and before you know it, all done!  If this isn’t your ‘thang’ get on the Wii with the kids and make some noise…. or perhaps try some ice skating?!

10th December 2011Saturday swapshop!   Swap your last few hours wandering round christmas jingled malls with a brisk walk outside in this fab fresh night air!  Then wander home, chillax with a meal with lots of colourful veg, perhaps a nice bit of steak and small jacket spud and even a cheeky (medicinal) glass of red wine!

9th December 2011Friday feeling?! Savoury snacks on the buffet can have just as many naughty calories and fat as the sugary based ones, so avoid returning for handfuls.  Try and snack on olives or crudites and small amounts of fresh nuts, over crisps, salted nuts and cocktail sausages!  Have you included a resistance workout this week?  If not why not try a TRX or kettlebell workout?  Great for muscle building and fat burning!

8th December 2011– Rich fruit cake day?  Nice slice with your festive cuppa in the office – may set you back about 250kcal and 30g of sugar, (a 40g or so slice!) so a small slice is sufficient.  The plus of fruit cake – well it’s got dried sultanas and raisins in it!  May not quite pass as one of a 5 a day.  So do make sure you eat some fruit & veg to balance it out!  Think about your core and back today: posture – think tall, belly button to spine – at all times.  Save your back a bit!

7th December 2011 – Weds.  If you are attending any Christmas buffets today make only one pass with your plate and try to limit the number of high fat options (such as sausage rolls!) you pick up.  Park your car a bit further from the station and add a few extra mins walking each way today.

6th December 2011Tuesday.  Time for a swim today perhaps?  Do ‘drills’ – few easy lengths and then do every other length harder; or split and do crawl arms & breaststroke legs.  Swimming will help you keep the seasonal stresses in check.

5th December 2011Monday Monday! Make Monday’s workout count towards the weeks planned excesses:  push yourself harder and do 10% more on each of your reps today.  Get out for a run or cyle if you can too.  (RunHertford is on today – 915am at Hertford Heath Village Hall)

4th December 2011  Sunday lunch looms! Load your plate with lots of ‘above the ground veggies’ and serve yourself to the inner rim of the plate for portion management.  Fitness wise, with the family around (or your friends) make a concerted effort to get out for a powerwalk for an hour today.  Or if you are putting up the decs do lots of squats to bend up and down and work your butt!

3rd December 2011Saturday shopping perhaps?  First come and do BOOTCAMP:  1 hour of focussed fitness to fat burn and improve stamina in preparation for the shopping antics. (08:45 outside our studio!) Time for  a mince pie perhaps?  Stick to the ones that are the size of a 50p (and have just one!) to limit your calorie load.

2nd December 2011your first Christmas Friday….. make sure that you eat a balanced meal at lunchtime particularly if you are out on the bevvies this evening!  Talking bevvies – add a glass of water in between your alcoholic drinks to limit the after affects of a hangover.  Exercise:  time for a walk/swim/run/cycle/dog walk today.

1st December 2011pinch punch first of the month – no returns!
Walk away from the chocolate in the calendar.  Add a 30 minute bodyweight routine in today. Squats/Lunges/Press Ups/Core work/Planks to name a few.  Drink a glass of water before each meal to satisfy hunger pangs!


"They helped me set realistic goals, with challenging yet achievable milestones" Susanne

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