With Christmas and New Years only a week away, it’s time to start kicking up the training for the stream of parties, family get-togethers, carol services and mince pie eating that will be taking over your diaries.
Now I know there will be a lot of you saying “That’s all well and good, but with all these functions and demands on my time, there’s just no way I can fit in training”. Valid point, but the solution is simple; compound moves!
A ‘compound’ move is an exercise that involves more than one muscle group and joint. For example, rather than doing squats, bicep curls and shoulder presses separately, bring them all together forming a kind of ‘super’ (or ‘compound’) move; Squat-curl-press. The greater demand on your body, results in more energy being needed to complete the movement. This in turn, means an increased rate of metabolism and, most importantly, more calories burned.
Just remember to train smart and don’t overdo it. In times of stress (and I’m pretty confident Christmas falls comfortably into that category), the hormone cortisol is released by the adrenal glands and serves to maintain energy supply through the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and protein. High levels of cortisol brought about through overtraining can lead to significant breakdown of muscle tissue. Simply put, if you over-train, you are unlikely to improve, and frustratingly might even get worse!
So there you go, you really can have it all. As long as you train intelligently and time efficiently, you can actually improve your fitness and physique over the Christmas period without missing out on the festivities. And better still, as long as you train with a high intensity you can rest easy in the knowledge that watching the Eastenders Christmas special is actually benefiting you, even if you don’t feel it at the time!
Darran Law is the At Home Fitness Personal Trainer in Solihull