Fitness tips: Simple holiday exercise to keep in shape


With his regular fitness tips, myASPRIA contributor Nils Courcy helps us to counteract holiday indulgence.

When we take a break from physical exercise, the theme is always the same: aat well and, above all, do nothing. How can we ensure that guilt doesn’t spoil everything and that we get back work in good shape?

In general terms, if you want to avoid putting on weight, you need to burn more fat than you consume.  While it’s not easy to control your insulin and your glycaemic load during holiday meals, it’s also not easy to completely cancel out the half dozen little pieces of toast with foie gras, the tartiflette and Grandma Claudette’s triple chocolate cake which were devoured the day previously. Unless you finish the evening with an hour of frenzied rock ‘n roll, you need to find a solution to cancel out these naughty little excesses very quickly.

So what’s the best way to do that?

A ‘lipolysis’ cardio workout
Contrary to popular belief, doing long hours of cardio-vascular work isn’t an effective way of eliminating fat, because the energy you use comes essentially from glycogen (sugar stored in our liver and muscles).  On the other hand, a ‘lipolysis’ cardio workout proves to be much more suitable because it aims to draw energy from our fat reserves by breaking down fatty acids within the cell and using them as fuel (in place of glucose).  Your ‘lipolysis threshold’ is calculated in the following way: [(220 – age) – resting heart rate] / 2 + resting heart rate. The result is the heart rate you should maintain throughout your exercise if you want to slim down.

In practice, this generally means a long walk. We all know that the only marathons you’ll be running will be endless family meals, so a big bowl of fresh air with a brisk walk in the woods will do you the world of good.  And it also aids digestion!

To complement that, make the most of the holidays to take care of yourself.  It’s the ideal opportunity to practise some yoga. It rebalances your hormones, strengthening and stretching your muscles and relaxing you – there are so many benefits.

Put together a three-week programme to get rid of the kilos you put on while on holiday and reboot your metabolism for good.  A few slimming massages, targeting fat deposits, will help you get through the programme. The sauna will also help eliminate toxins.

After this period of rest for the body, start gradually with an aerobic exercise at moderate intensity, such as cycling or swimming.  Skipping is the ultimate way to burn calories. Since a skipping rope is very modestly priced, why not buy one right away?

In the second week, follow on with at least two big muscle-building sessions on the large muscle groups (legs and back).  These more dense and active muscles use more energy, even at rest.  And if you’re planning to go and enjoy some water sports, your squats sessions will prove to be excellent conditioning for your legs!

In the final week, choose a week of HIIT training. These high intensity sessions will help eliminate ten times as much fat mass as a so-called ‘classic’ cardio workout, while simultaneously restricting loss of muscle mass.

If you get back to sport and exercise in a relatively intense way, you’ll also be motivated to keep it up all year round, particularly if you are trying to stop smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption!

Happy holidays!