If you’ve spent the last few weeks scoffing mince pies, drinking mulled wine and missing out on the gym, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The festive season can play havoc on our healthy routines and mean that we soon pile on the pounds. However, the average weight gained over the Christmas break isn’t as bad as you may have been led to believe. There aren’t many high-quality studies that look at body weight and fat changes over the Christmas period but, one study  looking at British adults showed an average increase of only 1kg weight gain over a 2-week Christmas break with a maximum weight gain of 4.4kg.
Whatever the weight you may have gained it doesn’t have to be hard to beat the festive bulge and get back in shape.
Having a goal will keep you focused as it allows you to monitor your progress. When we work with clients I will always try to set up two goals.
1. A long-term goal: what they wish to achieve long term i.e. 8-12 months.
2. A short-term goal: what they wish to achieve in the next 1-month or even week on week.
If weight loss is your primarily goal then it’s important to have an end goal weight in mind i.e. 2 stone, to then break this goal weight into smaller targets i.e. to lose 2lbs per week. This way you’ll be able to monitor your progress and track how well you’re getting on, increasing your chances of success.
As a general rule of thumb we tell our clients to expect and aim for between 0.5 percent and 1.7 percent of total body weight loss per week. This would usually be around 1lb – 3lbs per week depending on the individual. Also, it’s important to note that women tend to lose weight 40% slower than men.
There’s much debate over 'what diet is the best?’ with certain groups of people favoring low carb diet and others favoring low fat. Personally, I don’t think there’s a straightforward answer as it’s so dependent on the individual.
However, if you’re trying to shift some of the post Christmas pudding, then I do suggest following a low carbohydrate diet for several weeks. Studies  have shown that initial weight loss from a low carb diet is slightly superior to that in low fat across a three to six month period. After this time, both diets seem to produce similar results when it comes to weight loss. Christmas is usually a time where we over indulge on fine foods, alcohol and an excess of carbohydrates. Going on a low carbohydrate diet after Christmas will really help to get you back on track and in the habit of selecting sensible and more healthier food choices. When I talk about low carb I don’t mean zero. I would aim for about 20% of your total daily calories to come from carbs or anywhere between 50-70g of carbs per day.
For more information about this take a look at our Pre-Christmas Damage Control post.
HIIT It Hard
HIIT or, high-intensity interval training is a training technique in which you give an all-out, 100 percept effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, (working the anaerobic energy system) followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods.
HIIT is neither better nor less effective when comparing it to weight training but is a tool that defiantly has a lot of advantages over long duration cardio.
For example more people tend to stick to HIIT as less time is needed to perform it. Given that the main reason people don’t exercise is often because of a lack of time , HIIT is a really great tool to overcome this.
Research also suggests that greater fat loss is witnessed with HIIT as compared to regular steady state long duration cardio. One study  compared a group of people taking in 20 week of endurance work with a group of 15 weeks of HIIT as found that the latter group lost nine times more body fat and 12 percent more visceral fat than the group doing regular endurance work.
HIIT had also shown to both reduce the cravings for carbohydrates by 35 percent  and promote muscle glycogen uptake (ability for a muscle to store energy from carbohydrates) by 28 percent compared with only 17 percent seen by people who do regular endurance work .
Metabolic Resistance Training
Metabolic Resistance Training or MRT is a combination of intense, efficient cardiovascular and muscular training involving a combination of circuit training, supersets, speed work, compound lifts, all with very little rest, all designed to increase the body’s capacity to burn more calories day to day. MRT is effectively circuit training either pairing a agonistic exercise with antagonist exercise e.g Squat into Leg Curl or a compound lift i.e deadlift into a speed/cardio exercise such as burpees all with very limited rest between sets and between exercises.
MRT is mainly performed in a circuit fashion ideal for people who don’t have a lot of time and training this way has been estimated to burn around 7 kcal/kg/hr . With the energy expenditure approaching around 600Kcals over the course of a workout!
Creating A Habit
In January everyone starts out with tbe best intentions but in reality the average New Year gym enthusiast will give up after only about 8 weeks.
Science  has shown it takes 66 days to form a habit and after this time it becomes a part of you’re daily routine. Making fitness part of your daily life will help keep your fitness levels up and your weight constant, far beyond the New Year and even in to the following one!
If you don’t want to be another New Year gym drop out this year then turn your regime into a habit, work out with a personal trainer or friend – it’s said that you’re 80 percent more likely to achieve your weight loss or fitness goal by training with someone as it makes you accountable to someone other than yourself. Why not join a local running club, sign up to a boot camp or a couple of gym classes, link up with a friend or hire a personal trainer?
All of these tips will serve as a great way to kick off the New Year in a smart and efficient way when losing weight and feeling fabulous is concerned.
From everyone here at Hall Training, we wish you a very Happy and Healthy 2016!
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About Chris Hall
As the founder of Hall Training Systems, it is my mission to provide you with the very best personal training experience. I set up Hall Training Systems as Oxford's leading personal training service in nutrition, performance and weight loss, ensuring I can deliver the very best in training techniques.
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