Do’s and Don’ts of New Year training

Do’s and Don’ts of New Year training

Christmas is now a distant memory, the New Year has been celebrated and everyone is left feeling a little depressed, bloated, and convinced about not having any more alcohol until the summer…. Yeah! Like that’s going to happen.


This is when New Year resolutions kick in and high on the list is “getting in shape”. This is all good and well and it does give people a kick up the arse to get motivated. However……………


The problem:  


Getting in shape takes longer than the month of January. Everyone jumps in to it with both feet and actually feels worse by the time February comes around. Many people delve in and out over the year and others just simply don’t do any. Then January 1st arrives and the logic is to “hit it hard”, do as many “fat burning” classes or boot camps as humanly possible to burn off the Christmas podge. It’s not really podge, probably a little water retention.


Whoa! Just hold on a minute. Over the past week and a half you have “punished” your body with poor food choices and excessive amounts of alcohol. You are now going to punish it even further by beating it up through excessive amounts of “cardio” because this is (apparently) the best way to burn fat?…….. There is no logic!


Too much stress can be a cause of fat storage and muscle wastage. The improvement of body composition comes from fat loss and muscle development. Training and exercise (depending on the type) is a causation of stress. For this to work in your favour recovery is essential. Overtraining or hammering two or three classes everyday you are not allowing for recovery.


So before you book in to 30 classes this week or decide you are going to start pounding the pavements please consider the following:




  • Don’t start training for the sake of it and walk in to it blind. We have all been a little naughty of the festive period (anyone that tells you otherwise either has a form of weight specific event coming up or is a compulsive liar ; ) It’s done now move on!
  • Don’t think more is better. If you want to hit it hard that’s fine but always think quality over quantity. Prioritise sessions. You will put in more effort and gain more benefits from training three times per week than ten. Always remember recovery is just as (if not more) important that training.
  • Don’t dust your trainers off and believe running is the answer for fat loss. Running is a sport in its own right but sucks for fat loss, muscle development and strength. Just to be clear these three variables are essential for improving body composition. Running (especially long distances) has negative effects on all of them. It also hammers your joints.
  • Don’t think high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the be all end all. Does the “insanity” DVD ring a bell? It is a ridiculous concept with a very small retention rate. This guy probably makes a killing in January. HIIT is a good concept when used correctly but don’t overkill!




  • Do consider what you want from training. Sit down and identify long term and short terms goals. Have a reason for training. Build on the motivation you have recently developed and work with it.
  • Do start small and build up. This way your motivation will grow. Jump in with both feet and your motivation will be gone quicker than your Christmas chocolates.
  • Do consider sprint training over running. If you like outdoors training then sprint training will yield more benefits. It doesn’t take as long, you will burn more calories over the proceeding 48hrs and it supports muscle development. However considerations must be met:
  1. Start with hills or steps. This will be easier on your joints.
  2. Start at around 70% sprints and gradually build up over the weeks. Starting at 100% the chances are you will be injured pretty quick.
  3. Keep the volume relatively low i.e. 6-10 sprints on a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio (work:rest)


  • Do consider strength training. This really should be top priority over any training. Strength training is a lifestyle change and can and should be done over the course of ones life. The great thing with strength training is you can have any goal and it can be adapted to suit:


  1. Body composition
  2. Any sport
  3. Strength specific events
  4. Rehabilitation (injuries, conditions etc)
  5. Quality of life (muscles and joins deteriorate as we age. Strength training reverses the effect)
  6. Development (youth)


This list is not exhaustive


  • Do walk. Probably the best fat burning exercise. Why? It is stress free and actually stress reducing; Build up a good pace and you will comfortably use fat as the main energy source for as long as you walk; It is great for recovery; Find a friend to walk with and it is good for socialising…. stress relieving ; )



No body became obese from eating a few too many chocolates and drinking a few too many mulled wines over Christmas. Be wise, use the January blues to identify what you want out of 2017. Don’t destroy yourself in a month of madness!