Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Jingle dumb-bells 

Former Apprentice contestant Katie Bulmer-Cooke provides her tips for staying committed to your health and fitness goals over the Christmas period

The festive season is upon us, Christmas is around the corner, the days and nights are getting darker and it is that little bit harder to stay motivated when it comes to working out.

But with the average Brit gaining 9lbs during the festive period, now is certainly not the time to start avoiding your workouts.

Of course, this time of year also means more nights out and more cravings for comfort food. Plus the sofa seems even more inviting than heading out into the cold to visit the gym.

Naturally everyone wants to let their hair down a little and enjoy Christmas parties and get-togethers, but if you don’t want to let your belt out a notch, then it’s very important not to let your exercise regime fall by the wayside.

If you really can’t bear the thought of the cold journey to the gym, why not exercise at home?

A short but intense 20-minute workout five to seven times per week can serve as excellent damage limitation against the festive foods and fizz that will no doubt be consumed.

I have devised this Christmas cracker of a workout to do at home, all you will need is a kettle bell* and a resistance band…

Warm up:

Start with a three-to-four minute warm up, made up of upper body rotations, arm circles, squats and side lunges to get your body ready for the challenge ahead.

Circuits:

Set four minutes on the clock and complete the following circuit as many times as possible in that time:

* Kettle bell swing x 10

* Press up x 10

* Resistance band row x 10

Once the four minutes are up, take a 45 second rest before setting your stopwatch again for four minutes. This time use the following circuit:

* Kettle bell side lunge x 10

* Hover pike x 10

* Resistance band shoulder press x 10

Rest for up to 45 seconds before repeating both circuits.

Cool down:

Once you’re done, don’t forget to include some stretching at the end.

Now we couldn’t talk festivities without talking food! It would be crazy of me to expect everyone to stay away from chocolate, alcohol, and all of the other special Christmas treats, but if you don’t want to be one of those people who gains half a stone over the holidays then here are my top tips:

Manage your portion size

This is especially important when eating out. Just because it’s on the plate, doesn’t mean you have to eat it all.

Delay the splurge

Hold off on the mulled wine and cheese on a night after work for just a week or so more. The longer you make your ‘festive period’ the more calories you’ll consume.

Plan ahead

If you know you’ve got a Christmas party coming up and you’ll be eating and drinking some more calorific things, then consciously make better decisions in the week leading up to it.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and fit December, with few or no extra pounds to shift in January.

*Choose a weight that feels challenging but allows you to keep good technique.

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