Sean Van Staden
Columnist
4 minute read
12 Dec 2015
9:00 am

With all that food you have to be disciplined

Sean Van Staden

The solution: Keep calm and exercise.

December is a difficult month because there are so many functions, birthdays, Christmas parties, office parties, braais, and friendly final get-togethers, that you won’t have time to go to gym or exercise.

All you will be doing is literally consuming and getting fat. Moderation is the key, but when your mate says just one more Castle or your grandma lays the guilt trip on you for not waiting to eat her special six-layer rainbow cake, it becomes almost impossible to not eat that huge meal.

What tends to happen is, you say to yourself “I’ll pop into gym afterwards or the next day” and that day never comes. You are as stuffed as a pig and you can barely waddle to the couch. Heaven help you if you have already sat down and forgotten to get the remote off the table. Some have been known to stare at a blank TV for hours. Sure, I am dramatising quite a bit, but I am sure you can relate to at least one or two points.

There is no escaping these parties and the oasis of food and drink at your every turn. The solution: Keep calm and exercise. If you don’t want grandma to cry, your friends to give you the nod of shame for being a partypooper, then your discipline has to be one to two hours of gym a day.

Not less than an hour, for the simple reason that you are consuming more calories than you use. Let’s just take your beer which contains 425 kilojoules or 101 calories. If you jog on a treadmill, you will burn roughly 100 calories in 20 minutes. That would mean you are only allowed three light beers for every hour you train. Let’s not forget grandma’s cake, I am sure that is an hour itself.

You’ll see how quickly that belly can turn from washboard to Santa. There are a few strategies you can use to keep burning those calories.

Game Plan. Try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

You don’t have to be in the gym all day so you need to rev those engines and put some pedal to the metal. Instead of jogging, find a hill and sprint 100m at 70% of your max. Your legs will feel like jelly afterwards, but you would have burnt some mammoth calories. Instead of cycling, join a spinning class and generally if the instructor is foaming at the mouth, then you know you are in for a good workout.

Don’t walk, you are wasting your time, you have a beer to get to, rather get into an Olympic size pool, get some flippers and start swimming.

Rules. Remember my previous article on HIIT? The goal is to use big muscle groups and cardio combined without rest. This will keep your body confused and result in your body revolting and tearing up those unwanted calories and fat. The rules are simple, little to no rest – you have to keep moving.

If your legs are tired after the hill sprint, then drop down and work your upper body with push-ups or modified girly push-ups. Don’t worry, no one is watching. If you really must rest then you can, but for only 10 to -15 seconds. 45 minutes of HIIT will burn more calories than any cardio equipment in gym at a moderate pace.

The choice is yours… work very hard but for a shorter period or go and be bored for two hours on a piece of gym cardio equipment. I know this is an expensive time of year but treat yourself to a few sessions with a personal trainer. Tell them you want a HIIT session and emphasise you want to be taught good technique for each exercise.

If you are not going to do the exercises properly, you will be using the wrong muscles to do the job, you possibly will get injured and you will be wasting your time and money. Last, but not least, get a checkup first and a clean bill of health from your doctor before performing any form of exercise.

Life is too short not to go. Go right now and look into the eyes of your wife, your children, your grandchildren and then picture what void you could leave in their hearts by being a Rambo and training without a check-up. Good Luck with your training, have fun and keep consistent with no less than five days a week of training.

If you would like any ideas for HITT, tweet me on @SeanVStaden