Sean Van Staden
Columnist
4 minute read
21 Dec 2013
7:00 am

Have your Xmas cake, but earn it first

Sean Van Staden

December is a joyous month for most people. It's a time to reflect on the year, rest if you are lucky, and start planning for 2014.

Sean van Staden

Have you noticed that no matter in which direction you turn, there always seems to be a function, a birthday party, an end-of-year work party, a friend’s dinner party, a family get-together…

Whatever the occasion may be and as fun as it might be, they are certainly not helping your belt buckle in any way. Before you get all defensive on me and say you have worked hard and you deserve it, don’t let all your training and hard work go down the toilet.

Start each morning with my Xmas Metabolic Training and then enjoy your small piece of cake later in the day. MT training is perfect for this time of year because it allows you to train for less time while burning more calories for longer. Follow this programme every morning for 15-20 minutes and you won’t feel so guilty indulging in all the little delicacies and your belt buckle will thank you for it.

There are some rules to understanding metabolic training. First up you need to choose an exercise that works a big muscle group like chest, back or legs. You don’t have time to work on your mirror vanity muscles. You want big muscles that require big energy to operate, which inevitably means big calories being burnt.

Next you need to choose a cardiovascular activity such as skipping, small step-ups, jogging on the spot or suicides. Make sure you choose an exercise that you enjoy and that it is not an effort to perform mentally. The cardio activity comes right after each big calorie burning strength exercise. Your target is to perform your cardio activity for one to two minutes without stopping.

Perform one strength exercise and then one cardio exercise and then move on in sequence without rest. The only time you can rest is in between each set. A set is the entire sequence performed once. Make sure you push yourself, and I don’t mind you slowing down in performing the activity, but under no non-medical circumstance do you stop.

Sets: 2-4

Repetitions: 15-20

Intensity: Moderate to high

Strength exercises: 3-7 exercises in one set

Cardio Exercises: The ratio of strength to cardio is 1:1, so for every strength activity you will perform a cardio activity. If you have chosen three strength exercises, this would mean you will also have three cardio exercises which give you a grand total of six exercises per set.

Time to completion: 18-56 minutes.

Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

The beauty of this programme is that you are the creator, the chief and commander. You don’t have someone telling you what to do which means you can chose all the cool exercises you enjoy. This is very important to remember because if you are not going to enjoy your drills, you are not going to finish your training.

If you take a look at the time to completion of drills, it might seem like only 18 minutes, and how many calories can you really burn in 18 minutes? Have you ever push-started a stubborn car and when you eventually get the car moving, you are breathing heavily, and your legs feel like jelly? After 18 minutes you will feel just like that.

But the nice thing about Metabolic Training is that it is equivalent to just over an hour on a treadmill or stationary bicycle and research has shown that you will have an elevated metabolic resting rate. This means that up to 48 hours after this type of training, your body will burn more calories even sitting on your buttocks.

Your goal right now is to start, don’t overthink anything, find a nice piece of grass or open space and dedicate some time to making sure you don’t have to ask your friends and family to buy you bigger size clothing for Christmas.

Be jolly, be merry and be smart about health and fitness. Start off with the bare minimum requirements to my programme and gauge if you can push more, then next training day add more reps and or more drills. I believe in you and no matter what age, shape or fitness level, you can do it. Have yourself a stunning festive season and I wish you all the success, love and happiness for 2014.

PS: If you would like the full version of my Metabolic Training programme which I give my athletes as a Xmas present, message me on twitter @SeanVStaden and I will send you the download link.