Christmas Fitness? It Can Be Done, Says Matt Roberts
Matt Roberts is the man who gave John Galliano his now infamous pecs and washboard abs, and who trains Tom Ford, Naomi Campbell, and Sting. In London’s competitive world of personal trainers, he and his team are a stratosphere apart—so no surprise that training with him is neither nice nor easy. He doesn’t care if you’re sweating like a farm animal, about to hurl, or in deep pain (“It will go away, carry on,” he says calmly). When he gives you advice on health and fitness, you don’t argue, you just obey. Which brings us to Christmas, the season of shortbread, stuffing, and nonstop booze. There’s no better way to snafu a controlled regime of diet and exercise than by tucking into a few extra gingerbread men and slices of fruitcake. So, in the run-up to this calorie-laden time of year, here are Matt Roberts’ tips to stay in shape: Just remember—don’t think, just obey.
1. Set out a plan for your holiday time—not a spur-of-the-moment plan, but a real one. It’s not good to have the thought of exercising weighing on your mind. Set out a structure so that you know what you are doing and when you are doing it—and stick to it.
2. Aim to exercise four times each week, two long sessions (40-60 minutes) and two focused sessions (20 minutes). Shorter sessions mean you’re more likely to get them done.
3. During the holidays, it’s unrealistic to think that you won’t be drinking or eating more than usual. Instead, set a rule that you will only drink at one time in the day, not twice or throughout the day. And if you’ve had a big eating day, then balance it off the next by cutting things down.
4. Play a sport. Skiing (snow or water!), tennis, volleyball, football—they provide the variety that your mind and body need to keep pushing yourself as much as you should. Exercise should be fun, and playing a sport with a friend or group breaks up the routine nicely.
5. If you’re traveling during your holidays, have a goal to come back home in the same shape that you went away in. Treat your holiday a bit like your own personal spa or boot camp break and you will come back feeling more refreshed, rather than feeling like you need another holiday. Your downtime is precious and it’ll benefit you the most if you use it to look after yourself.