The festive season is synonymous with over-indulging in food and alcohol, and as a result, many of us fall off the health and fitness wagon. But there are simple ways to maintain your health and fitness during this jolly season.
Compiled by: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
This is the time when many people are on holiday, traveling and turning-up, and often neglecting their health and fitness routine, which can lead to excessive weight gain.
But personal trainer, Amos Mandla Nhleko, is here to illustrate how you can enjoy the summer break without completely breaking your fitness routine.
With over 10 000 followers on Instagram, Mandla is one of the most followed and respected fitness experts in South Africa. He is a qualified personal trainer, functional training specialist and a lecturer at HFPA Fitness Academy.
He believes that people often stray from the healthy lifestyle during the holidays due to poor planning.
“During the holidays our moods changes to a more relaxed mode. However this doesn’t mean that we must neglect our fitness commitment.
“Consistency is always key – if you were training five times a week, it doesn’t mean stop exercising rather lessen the number of training days to three,” he explains.
As a personal trainer, Mandla specialises in strength and conditioning for sports specific training, functional training, weight loss, lean muscle development, agility, speed and quickness training, HIIT training (High-intensity interval training) and sports massage.
He breaks down the simple ways to ensure you stay fit and healthy this festive season:
What I advise my clients during the festive season
They need to be 110% committed to whatever goal or goals they set for themselves and be realistic about them – they have to be S.M.A.R.T about their goal-setting (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).
I also inform them that we need to work as a team, that way I know the training programme I prescribe them will work and it will be in-line with their goals.
I also take before pictures to track progress and assessment. The assessment also includes fitness and strength testing, body fat, centimetres and weight.
I also advise them that all goals are driven by nutrition, so the correct nutrients are key in achieving their goals.
Hashtag #summerbody – is it realistic goal?
When God created us, he gave us a powerful and functional body that helps us to face our daily challenges and activities, in return we need to nurture it by feeding it healthy nutrients, make it move more by performing various training methods, and improve its mental fitness by feeding it positive thoughts.
Our bodies are not seasonal machines, so the #summerbody is not a realistic goal if we are going to over indulge by eating junk food everyday and excessively drinking alcohol, while expecting to have a lean, healthy and toned body in a short period of time.
The dangers of subscribing to the #summerbody trend
By subscribing to this approach, you’re subscribing yourself to failure because in most cases those people are expecting miracles and quick fixes.
They usually try each and every diet plan or eating plan that they can lay their hands on and this can lead to negative results and can also harm their body if they are not careful.
I personally subscribe to #365functionaltraining #borntomove #healthylifestyle. We have 365 days in a year and our bodies need to be functional throughout the year in order to face daily activities, and the more we move the better.
We must focus our energies on living a healthy lifestyle and do some things in moderation, like alcohol and cheat meals.
Over-indulging during the festive season
We need to remember that the festive season is short, and since we have been working hard throughout the year, we deserve some time to relax – but it doesn’t mean that we need to over indulge.
We need to make sure that we drink lots of water and keep on exercising, and also plan for our workouts to fit into our holiday schedule.
How to maintain your fitness regimen during the holidays
Because we don’t have enough time in our hands during the holidays, focus on HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training), which lasts between 30-45 minutes.
If you don’t have access to a gym while on holiday, body weight exercises are the best. Also pack your skipping rope with you, and don’t forget to travel with your gym gear.
Simple exercises to do over the festive season
Skipping is one of the exercises that one can do anywhere. I also recommend body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, burpees, lunges, planks and mountain climbers, including running which can also be performed anywhere.
Complete exercise 1 to 6 and rest 30 seconds between each exercise – and complete as many rounds as you can in 20-30 minutes:
Squats 15-20 reps
Push-ups 15-20 reps
Mountain climbers 30-40 reps
Plank 40-60 seconds
Lunges 30-40 reps
Burpees 20-50 reps
Full body weight exercises for the holidays:
Recommended sports for the holidays
If exercising proves to be a challenge, you can also try some of these sports/activities – netball, soccer, running, volleyball and basketball.
How I personally maintain my fitness regime during the festive season
I reduce the number of training days to three times per week, focus on HIIT training, functional training and strength training during the festive season. I also lower the intensity of my training.
Normally I will train 60-90 minutes per session but during the festive season I train 45-60 minutes per session.
Luckily I have two bicycles on and off road, sometimes I will wake up in the morning and ride for at least 30-50 kilometres twice a week.
I also let loose a little when it comes to food but I don’t over-indulge – I make sure I eat small portions.
The little things one can implement during the festive season in preparation for the New Year
The first thing that one can implement after the hectic festive season is to detoxify the body by eating fruits, vegetables and drinking lots of water (1 litre a day).
You must also cut down on meat, since you have been having lots of it during the festive season.
Start small by setting short term goals, and make sure they are realistic. If you are not sure how to go about eating healthy or training for the body you want in 2020, hire a certified professional personal trainer.
People like myself are there to help you achieve your goals and to inspire you to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle.
Mandla stresses the importance of health & fitness especially for black youth. “As a certified professional personal trainer, functional training specialist, strength and sports conditioning coach, I owe it to the black youth to teach them the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle,” he explains.
“It is my dream to host a seminar mainly for the black youth especially in the townships, to share my knowledge so that they know that health and fitness starts at an early age.
“They need to know that chronic diseases normally don’t creep in at a specific age, sometimes it can be due to one not looking after their health.
“They have free access to one form of exercise, which is running and that’s how I also started – living a healthy lifestyle does not have to be costly.”