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Health and Wellbeing - Dec 16/Jan 17

05 Dec 2016

With Andrew Ward

Make the right gains over Christmas

The simple equation for improving our general health and wellbeing is to move more and consume more thoughtfully.

Unfortunately the silly season (our well-earned holidays over the Christmas period) always encourages us to do quite the opposite. In fact consuming without thought and moving a whole lot less is the theme for most of new year period for many.

Now I didn’t say that was a bad thing, in fact slowing down and easing back on your training and workouts might be just what your doctor ordered you to do. Maybe you have been working and training hard all year, and your body needs a break from a strict routine of exercise and nutrition – if so, take that break, you have earned it.

However, if you are on a mission to improve your health and wellbeing, lose weight, run a marathon or compete in a sport then maybe this break over Christmas is your time to step things up.

To succeed and achieve your goals, like anything, you need a solid plan. Take the lead and inspire others to take a healthy high road while you are on holidays. Make this year different. Avoid the binge eating and drinking and aim for at least two activity sessions per day. Use your mornings for the active sessions, working out before breakfast then finish the day with some stretching, yoga, relaxation or meditation. The sessions don’t need to be too long.

Complete the above for two weeks and see how well you come back to work after the holidays – your colleagues will notice, and you just might have an edge for that new job you are searching for.

Keep exercise and nutrition simple

You wouldn’t believe the nonsense I heard outside the gym today – a professional, academic young man in a suit was sharing his frustrations that he had lost size overall, especially in the arms even though he was training hard on a new routine.

He wasn’t getting the gains he expected while he was on a high fat diet recommend to him by an expert. The conversation and debate over theories, concepts and ideas about how to achieve rapid gains lasted for more than 20 minutes.

In that same amount of time, the young man could have completed an effective and comprehensive workout and consumed some quality whole foods and protein and be well on his way for progress. Instead the debate continued.

Lets revisit the “move more and consume more thoughtfully” concept in regard to this gent in question. Here is where he went wrong:

Too much talk, not enough action. If it’s muscular gains you are looking for, you need to do the hard yards in the gym.

Forget the fad diets and shortcuts – look for quality whole foods, carbs, fats and proteins and be selective with your fruit and veg so that you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need from natural sources.

Your diet should be balanced, with a slight slant on protein serves and frequency, in line with weight training and exercise demands and goals.

Lift big, lift well. Whether you are doing a BodyPump class or powerlifting. Don’t be shy. Quality form, posture and exercise execution are key to your results.

Follow the leaders. Fitness Australia and nearly every global body governing fitness recommends about 30 minutes per day of exercise every day. No need to reinvent that wheel or make excuses.

Foam rolling

Foam rolling has become a mainstream activity in the gym these days. We have foam roller classes and foam rollers on the gym floor in the stretch area and they are always utilised for great benefits to the user.

Here are some great reasons why you should incorporate some rolling into your weekly exercise routines:

  • Helps reduce muscular tension and reduce injuries;
  • Helps to removes lactic acid from muscles after exercise;
  • Good for rehabilitation and aids in recovery;
  • Improves flexibility, mobility and range of motion;
  • They are versatile and can be used for all muscle groups;
  • They are simple to use – once you have the concept and some ideas;
  • They are cost effective and great value for money – you can buy one for home; and
  • Foam rollers might make a great Christmas present – at under $70 for a decent one they represent great value and do wonders for your body!

Thanks to Shane (and Bethany) from Docklands News for their support this year publishing this column. I have found it a great way to connect with the community that I am so passionate about, and always find it encouraging and enjoyable when someone has read my material and found it meaningful and informative. I will take this opportunity to wish all the workers and residents in Docklands a safe Christmas and prosperous 2017.

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