So I'm off to my village; Arondizuogu in Imo State this weekend. I'm definitely excited, my cousins are going to be around, there are weddings, parties...oodles of activity and to accompany all this will be food, lots of it.
See I go to the gym 4 times a week, I don't do a lot of cardio because I shed weight really quickly so I stick to weight training. I go hard at my workouts because I find it very difficult to stick to a clean eating schedule. I've managed to completely cut out soda and some carbs but I largely still eat whatever I want. So to offset all the crap I eat, I beast it in the gym from Monday to Thursday for at least 2 - 3 hours per day.
Now my very legitimate fear with going to the village is that there is going to be tons of food, which by virtue of my being a gully I have to have, but where I'd normally eat then spend 3 hours at the gym the next day, this can't work in the village. No gym...nada.
I'm actually terrified of what I might look like by the time I get back to Lagos.
I came up with a few easy steps to take to be able to enjoy my Christmas feasts while not neglecting my body.
Portion Control/Eating Slowly
You can actually eat as much as you like if you're able to discipline yourself to spread it throughout the day. Eating several small meals throughout the day helps to increase your metabolism and break food down faster. So instead of 2-3 big meals, have about 4-5 smaller meals. You'll feel more full and eat less.
Eating slowly is also invaluable as the stomach takes a while to communicate to the brain that its full, so if you're a fast eater like me, you could actually outrun your brain and eat way past your capability before you realize that you're actually full.
Load Up On The Right Kinds of Food
Instead of covering your entire plate with that delicious unhealthy golden jollof rice, how about you take a fist-sized portion then double up on the right kinds of food, such as lean protein sources; fish, skinless chicken breasts, eggs, nuts etc, and vegetables.
Stay Hydrated and Avoid Liquid Calories
Your brain can sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. A large glass of water before a meal (and especially before considering seconds) can help lessen the amount of food you consume. A yummy cocktail is jam-packed with calories and can be as fattening as a bar of chocolate. Drinks also stimulate your appetite and can make you hungry, so indulge in moderation.
Crunches Before and After a Meal
This is a trick my trainer taught when I complained of how bloated I constantly got, even from the smallest of meals. You basically do side or front crunches before you eat and after you eat. This tightens your stomach walls so you don't consume as much food because your stomach has contracted.
You can actually do this while seated; "Sit tall with knees bent and together (focus on squeezing inner thighs together for more muscular activation), toes pointed, hands behind head. Brace abs in tight and hinge back until just shoulder blades are lightly touching the back of the chair. Bring body forward, crossing right elbow to the outside of left knee. Return to start."
I usually do 2 sets of 10 reps for both side and front crunches.
Not being able to go to the gym is going to be very difficult for me so I have to find other ways to stay active so I don't undo all the good work I've done this year. My workouts are usually high intensity ones lasting for about 2 hours but I can't do that over the holidays, so the only solution is to do short bursts of high intensity workouts, reducing my usual time to 30 minutes.
I've put together a quick interval circuit routine lasting me only 30 minutes, all of these for only 2 sets of 10 reps:
"Stand with the feet shoulder width apart. Squat down as if you were performing a normal squat. Engage your core and jump in the air explosively. On landing lower the body back into the squat position and that is 1 rep"
"Stand with your feet hip width apart and your arms down by your side. Lower into a squat position with your hands flat on the floor in front of you. Kick your legs backwards into a press up position and lower your chest to the floor. Push your chest back up to the press up position thrust both feet forward so you are back in the squat position. Jump up and raise both hands over your head"
"Assume a press up position so your hands are directly under your chest at shoulder width apart with straight arms. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating for the desired number of reps or time."
"Start by getting into a press up position. Bend your elbows and rest your weight ono your forearms and not on your hands. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine. Hold this position for the prescribed time.'
Side and Front-Facing Crunches before and after every meal
Its going to be super difficult with all the ugba, pepper soup, rice, palm wine etc that's going to be on deck in the village, but the aim is to really try and stick to a regimen so I can avoid the January gym guilt that usually hits most people. So when I get back after my trip I'm not struggling to catch up in the gym.
Love and light xx
credits: zesterdaily.com, munfitnessblog.com, 30dayfitnesschallenges.com, francescavdwerf.com, newhealthguide.org