This week we are so lucky that our guest blog is written by leading Exercise Physiologist Tony Boutagy from the Boutagy Fitness Institute (http://www.tonyboutagy.com/). Here Tony shares his 5 tips for a healthy Summer.
December and January is a time that many Australian’s take their summer holidays. A few weeks away from work, a change of scenery, time with family and friends, and a little more sleep is just the things we need to reduce the stress of yet another year passed and to recharge the batteries before starting the new year and all of the challenges that life will inevitable throw us. Here are 5 healthy tips to getting the most out of your break so that you will start 2014 in the best shape possible.
1. Increase your Aerobic Engine:
Try exercising in the fasted state, prior to breakfast, three to four times a week. Training without having food in the system increases the amount of fat used for fuel and increases the adaptation to aerobic exercise. Black coffee, green tea and water can and should be consumed before exercising. Cycling and jogging are the best exercise choices and aim to move for 60-90 minutes, keeping the intensity low to moderate (65-75% maximum);
Perform your weights sessions in the afternoon prior to dinner: the protein consumed in the evening meal and a good night’s sleep greatly increases the recovery and adaptation to the workout;
Because it’s the holidays and we have more time, give training twice a day a go: Perform an easy continuous aerobic session in the morning for around an hour and then do some form of high-intensity interval training in the afternoon. Hill sprint work is my favourite: 6-8 sprints up a moderately steep hill for about 45-60 seconds and walk slowly back down, resting roughly 90-120 seconds between each interval. Monday, Wednesday, Friday works well for training twice in a day.
2. Get Back to Nature
Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in Australia – Get some sensible sun exposure outside peak UV windows by walking barefoot on the beach, in nature or on grass, swimming in the ocean or reading a book somewhere quiet and scenic;
Bushwalk or jog through a bush trail or swim in the ocean;
Turn your computer off for the day;
Leave your phone on silent for prolonged periods;
Listen to classical music;
Sit in silence, listening the sounds of nature – the wind in the trees, the birds and other wildlife and watch a sunrise and a sunset. Spend the time thinking of 7 things for which you can be grateful.
3. Get some Deep Sleep
Try 2 weeks of getting 9 hours a night of sleep;
Make sure your room is as dark as possible;
Set a sleep/wake cycle by going to bed and waking at the same time;
Avoid watching TV or a computer screen within 2 hours of bed;
Have a dinner containing both high GI carbohydrates and protein to stimulate and good night’s rest.
4. Improve your Flexibility
Most people complain that they do not have enough time to stretch in the year, so the holidays are a perfect time to spend 30-60 minutes a day using the foam roller and stretching all the key areas that have tightened up after a year of neglect!
5. Don’t Stop Weight Training
Muscle mass starts to decline within only 5 days of inactivity! Many people will spend the summer break away from the gym, but – from your muscle’s perspective – this is a terrible idea! You can reduce your training in the gym, but don’t stop it. Try this 2-day workout; a Tuesday/Friday split would be my suggestion.
A1. Squats, 12 reps
A2. Standing barbell overhead press, 12 reps
A3. Deadlifts, 12 reps
A4. Palms facing forward lat pulldowns, 12 reps
A1. Dumbbell lunges, 12 reps
A2. Push-ups, 12 reps
A3. Straight-leg deadlifts, 12 reps
A4. Single-arm dumbbell rows, 12 reps
Perform both days as a circuit, resting only 10-20 seconds between A1-A4 and then rest 2 minutes before starting again. Do 5 seconds
These are the 5 tips I would give, as a Personal Trainer, to my clients to get the most out of their holiday period. Have a happy, safe and relaxing Christmas period.
Tony is the director of the Boutagy Fitness Institute. He completed a PhD in sports science at Charles Darwin University in 2011 and is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) with ESSA. He is also a Research Fellow at the University of the Sunshine Coast, a lecturer in the School of Physiotherapy at ACU and on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed Journal of Fitness Research.