Hi All, hope you had a really festive and restive (sp) Christmas and New Years.
January I find is always the hardest month to get yourself through: Christmas is gone, you’re back to work and the mornings are still dark and cold. Everything warm and fun seem so far away. It’s also the time most of us will end up breaking our resolutions. Most people (some figures put it as high as 90%) will join a gym and never go after January. Infact this is so predictable that many large chain gyms rely on that to make a profit.
Wellbeing is one side of health that is often overlooked by fitness professionals. We get so caught up in body composition, reps and sets and healthy eating that we can often forget to make sure our clients are happy (incidentally, its this inclusion of well being that prompted me to change my designation from personal trainer to coach. Some times even Coach). I’d like to share a few things that help me through this part of the year and a couple of resolutions that I have made in the past.
With the sun seemingly at the centre of some other solar system we can find ourselves lacking in Vitamin D. Go get yourself a boost of sunshine (ideally by going on holiday somewhere nice) by getting outside for a few minutes, even if you just stand and watch the birds. You’ll find yourself uplifted. Also, get a shot of sunshine in a bottle and grab some vitamin D supps (anything around 5-15μm a day is fine, some supplements are higher). You’re looking for the D3 (cholecalciferol) form as this is the type synthesized in the skin. Remember though that supplements are just that: supplemental. Its no substitute to a few mins outside in the fresh air. Oh and guys, essential for testosterone production. (I don’t recommend the use of sunbeds, ever).
The Vitamin B complex is water soluble, making it pretty hard to overdose on and has a number of important roles in humans. In particular B12 can ‘improve’ moods and outlook. 2-3μg is an ideal amount, and most people get this through diet. I’ve found that due to the physiological stress ( anyone who knows me would hardly call it mental stress) of what I do a little extra Vit -B goes a long way.
With the dark and cold weather the temptation is to get home and fill up on stodgy comfort food (I do it myself, I have a huge risotto in the fridge, home made chicken and pork stock, with pesto, peppers, spinach… is this helping?). We often find ourselves bloated and sluggish on this diet, so make sure you get in plenty of fibre. Oats are my absolute favourite source, if you’re not keen on eating grains there is plenty in a variety of fruits and vegetables (sweet potatoes for the win here, especially the skins). Personally I find the govt RDA ridiculously low on this (15g just isn’t enough at all) and aim for somewhere between 40g and 50g a day. Bear in mind though thats with almost 4500 kcals. If your caloric load is less, try going for about 25g. It’ll help you poop, and THAT will make you feel better.
Resolutions are tricky things: they are meant to point out to us what we could improve in ourselves in the coming year. People set their sights wildly high with these and are doomed to failure and feeling glum in no time at all.
How then can you set a good New Years Resolution? Try this:
1 Set something you can actually achieve
2 Set something you’ve never done before (but you’ve always wanted to)
3 Set something you’re going to enjoy
4 Set something cheap
5 Set something FUN!
It doesn’t all have to be about weight loss and exercise. My all time favourite resolution was a couple of years back when I decided it’s time I learnt to juggle. Not only was it great fun learning (its one of the only times I can honestly say I FELT myself learning something) it’s a great stress reliever, has improved my coordination in and out of the gym, and is fun to show people. I’m still learning now (four balls is really hard). It cost £6 for a decent set of balls and a DVD showing me the basics.
Pick something that YOU have always wanted to do and find the time to learn it. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside a head full of B vitamins, a gut full of fibre and a 3-ball outside cascade are pretty good.
P.S The advice in this article does not presume to be, nor should be taken as, dietary recommendations or a therapeutic regime.