22 March 2023
My Muscle Chef
Contributor - Rosie Piper
It’s getting towards the pointy end of the year and for many people, that means things like time off work, holidays and parties. This often means routine is seemingly tossed out the window in favour of a rockin’ good time, due to the alarm clock being turned off, a string of hangovers or just being far away from your gym.
We sometimes fall out of our usual “good behaviour” during the silly season. That’s why we call it the silly season, of course. And while we’re not suggesting you should turn the fun dial down to zero, if you don’t want to fall out of your usual healthy lifestyle, we’ve got 7 easy ways to ensure you emerge from the silly season unscathed with your routine intact.
OK, so this is a pretty easy one, but also a pretty easy one to forget about in the moment. Drinking plenty of water is the most important thing you can do for yourself, especially in the months when it’s hot and sweaty and you might be boozing a little harder. Yet, somehow, we can be remarkably bad at remembering to hydrate.
There are a few ways to help prevent dehydration. For starters, buy yourself a reusable water bottle. Heck, buy two, so you’ve got one at hand when the other is being washed! One that clips to a bag or belt so you never forget it is even better. Going reusable is also good on the conscience, as you’re not buying and throwing out plastic bottle after plastic bottle. That’s ultimately easier on the wallet too!
Where alcohol is concerned, when you’re out on the turps, it’s a good idea to make some rules for yourself. Drinking a glass of water in between each drink is a good way to pace yourself and ensure you’re not having to catch up at the end of your night or even the next day if a hangover has set in.
Got a few days off over the holidays? If it’s calling out for it, let your body sleep! Days off are just that: days off! You don’t need to rise at 6am every day if your body needs a rest and has a chance for one. And hey, your alarm clock has had a long year and needs a rest too.
A lack of sleep can impair cognitive function and the brain’s ability to process and retain information. Being well rested also aids with immune function, as it’s while we’re sleeping that our body does most of its recovering.
Studies have shown that it can take up to four days to recover from just one hour of lost sleep and nine days to completely pay back your sleep debt. So, because things can take this long, let yourself have a sleep! And if you don’t get enough in during the night, a mid-arvo nap can’t hurt, can it?!
If your diary is stacked with scheduled catch-ups on your days off and you’re worried about being able to fit exercise into your busy days, there’s a clever way to finesse these meetings. Make them active!
Movement-based hangouts are a great way to engage in some social exercise and inject a bit of extra fun into what could’ve been a stock standard coffee date. Heck, you can even go for a coffee after you’ve exercised; just remember to rehydrate too!
There are plenty of ways you can do this:
Kicking the footy
Having a hit or a trundle down the cricket nets
A city- or suburb-wide game of hide and seek
It’s not limited to just those either; the possibilities are basically endless, so get moving!
So, we know we said before that you should catch up on your sleep and put the alarm clock away, but that doesn’t mean sleeping in until the afternoon like some sort of crepuscular critter! We know; give it a Google.
Even if you’re allowing yourself to rise at 9am or even 10am, cracking into your exercise in the morning hours frees the rest of your day up for other activities! Also, rather crucially, during these hotter months, it’s a lot cooler in the morning, so there’ll be much less strain on your body and you can give it everything you’ve got.
Additionally, due to the endorphin boost you’ll receive from exercising, you’ll head into the day with a clearer head and better mood. This positive result for your mental health will not only help to recharge your batteries, but allow you to focus, making any tasks you need to complete a whole lot smoother.
No, we didn’t just spell “hit” wrong. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training! This denotes a workout routine comprised of a series of high intensity cardio and/or strength exercises performed with short intervals of rest or lower intensity exercise; it’s all in the name, really.
The goal of HIIT is to be working as hard as you possibly can for these periods of time in order to be able to increase endurance, burn fat and build muscle. Exercises can include planking, pushups, situps, star jumps, mountain climbers, sprints, burpees, squats and any number of other hard-hitting options.
Whether performed with portable weights or using your own body weight, the advantage of this type of training is that it can be performed basically anywhere, meaning you can still get a thorough sweat on even if you’re nowhere near a gym or regular running route. They can even be done in as confined a space as a tiny hotel/motel room.
If you need a place to start, our Move with MYMC initiative is a great primer. Check out Ben Seymour’s workouts for beginners and intermediate trainers or Max Burch’s more advanced routine.
Look, let’s be real for a second. You might slip up once or twice and have the occasional unexpected day off from your routine. Maybe you wake up with a chronic hangover or just get too distracted watching a thrilling session of the Boxing Day Test and you miss a workout.
The important thing is, when this happens, don’t beat yourself up about it! After all, we’re only human and we all make mistakes or have moments of weakness. Having said that, it’s important not to chalk these things up as failures.
And if you do want a few days of inactivity, don’t be discouraged by a lack of progress in your exercise regime or waking up with a kebab wrapper next to your bed. Tomorrow is another day, you’ll get ‘em next time, kid and other encouraging clichés!
If you do wake up feeling a bit crook after a night out, the impulse to cook yourself something nourishing to restore your fragile frame to good health again may not be a strong one. The urge to lean on unhealthy takeaway and delivery services may try to take hold, but we’ve got a great tip to free you from its iron claws.
When you are feeling good, take advantage of that and use any motivation to organise meal prep! Stocking up on MYMC meals is the easiest, quickest way to ensure you have plenty of delicious, healthy meals at hand. This way, you can still get a good dose of nutrition when you’re feeling low and lethargic.
As well as aiding your recovery, you’ll have even more freedom, with time saved on cooking, shopping and cleaning, so you can run amok and live your summer dreams. Armed with all of our helpful advice, of course.
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