Dominique Lloyd-Walter (former England squash international) works as a personal trainer in and around Surrey
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (former England squash international) works as a personal trainer in and around Surrey

Newsletter number twenty one

Hi everyone,Dom Xmas hat

As we are now in December and Christmas is fast approaching, this week's newsletter is based around the festive season. Enjoy the read and have a great weekend!


Tips to keep yourself fighting fit this Christmas

Unfortunately, in terms of fitness, Christmas can be a potential minefield. Alcohol always seems to be flowing, the weather is cold, dark and icy (making you less likely to want to step outside and exercise), high calorie treats are everywhere you turn and parties seem to be happening every other day. However, it is possible to still maintain a fitness routine during the festive period. Use the following tips to keep yourself fit and strong....

* KEEP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG....the common cold and the flu are two common health conditions that develop around Christmas. Whilst there is currently no cure for these viral infections, you can make your body well equipped to fight them by eating/drinking some immune system boosting foods such as oranges, yoghurt, nuts and green tea. Also make sure you consume adequate levels of vitamin C and vitamin D.

* BOOST YOUR MOOD....another unpleasant condition to rear it's head during the winter months is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression caused by the lack of sunlight during the winter months which affects 7% of the UK population. It strikes between September and December and is particularly strong between December and February. Fortunately, in most cases, SAD can be treated with light therapy (a form of treatment which involves the use of a specially designed light box for two to three hours per day). Also, by eating/drinking mood boosting foods such as tea, nuts, salmon and dark chocolate and by doing some exercise, you can elevate your mood.

* MAKE SURE YOU SLEEP WELL....with so much going on in the social calendar around Christmas, it can be easy to lose out on sleep. It is important to try and compensate for lost sleep by aiming to get a couple of extra hours on the days where you have free time. If you deny yourself of sleep, your concentration and memory will be affected.

* FIT IN SOME EXERCISE....exercise often takes a back seat at Christmas. Your time and hours of daylight are reduced and the cold weather can decrease your motivation to work out. However, there are still options around the festive season. Making the effort to get up an hour earlier a couple/few mornings per week to fit an exercise session in will pay dividends. If you don't fancy the cold weather or darkness, there are plenty of body weight exercises you can do in your own home. You could also invest in an exercise DVD or even a Wii Fit.

* EAT THE RIGHT FOODS....there are so many temptations over the festive period, it can seem almost impossible to eat healthily. However getting good fuel in the body is even more important with the increased risk of the common cold and flu at this time of year. There are some strategies that can help prevent your diet from completely falling apart. Start the day with a good breakfast such as porridge, eggs, nuts, fruit and yoghurt. Even if the rest of the day does not go according to plan, this kind of breakfast will ensure you get some nutritious foods. Also, having a bag of mixed fruit and nuts on hand (for a snack) can help prevent you from reaching for the ample sweets and chocolate. When it comes to Christmas dinner, try to fill your plate with plenty of vegetables and turkey.

* PLAN FOR CHRISTMAS PARTIES....parties are inevitable at this time of the year. Whilst it is good to relax and enjoy yourself, too much partying can have a negative impact on your health. If you do have a particularly heavy night, then try to counteract it by being kind to your body the next day. Plenty of water, nutritious food and some gentle exercise will help you recover. Also, try not to have two heavy nights in a row. If you have a few too many drinks one night, it will be worth being less indulgent the next evening!

* BUY PRESENTS WITH A FITNESS of the best ways to get yourself in the mood to exercise at this time of year is to motivate others around you to do the same. This can be done by purchasing presents with a fitness theme for your friends and family.

In summary, Christmas is one of the hardest times to achieve your fitness goals. However, if you can maintain your current levels as best you can and stay on more or less the right track diet wise, you'll be raring to go in January.


Weight loss

In the summer, it is easy to base meals around salad and fruit as the warm weather tends to make us crave lighter meals. Salad and fruit aid weight loss as the fibre obtained from them fills us up for longer. Come winter, you do not have to leave those healthy summer eating habits behind. You can still enjoy all the flavoursome, warming food you crave without having to succumb to platefuls of fattening stodge. The easiest thing to do is make a straight swap from salads to healthy vegetable dishes such as roasted Mediterranean vegetables, soups, stews, bean chilli or vegetable curry. That way you'll be keeping your fibre intake up, but preventing weight gain. Try not to add too many stodgy carbs such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes to your new winter menu though as this is where you'll gain extra calories. Instead, try eating stew with a side of steamed spinach instead of dumplings, or adding chickpeas to soups and holding off the buttery bread.


Nutrition tip

Whilst eating your bodyweight in roast potatoes isn't healthy, when you look at the components of a Christmas dinner, it is about as wholesome as a meal gets. A smoked salmon starter will give you ample essential fatty acids (these are healthy fats that stimulate your metabolism and encourage your body to burn stored fat). Turkey is low in fat and high in protein, helping you to build muscle rather than put on fat and is also rich in tryptophan, the protein your brain needs to produce the hormone serotonin. Just go easy on the fat laden skin!! Meanwhile, despite their rather anti-social reputation, one portion of sprouts contains 300% of the recommended daily allowance of cancer protective vitamin K.



Swapping two mini sausages on sticks for two mini chicken satays on sticks at Christmas parties can save you 80 calories. The sausages total 130 calories whilst the chicken totals 50 calories. When it comes to sweet things, swapping a mince pie (230 calories) for a slice of yule log (185 calories) will save you 45 calories.


Quote of the week

"People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but really they should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas."



Interesting fact

Making time for exercise is one of the top ten New Year's resolutions made by people every year!


Challenge of the week

Winners of this week's forward plank challenge are,

Male winner : Matthew Bates with 4 minutes 20 seconds

Male runner up : James Sayers with 3 minutes 50 seconds

Female winner : Jo Wallace with 2 minutes 20 seconds

Female runner up : Katy Smith  with 2 minutes 15 seconds

WELL DONE to everyone that gave it a good go!

Next challenge is to hold a wall sit for as long as possible. This involves leaning back against a wall with knees at a 90 degree angle as if you are sitting on a chair. Get practising! Winners/runners up named in next newsletter. Below is a rating of times,

30 seconds : AVERAGE

60 seconds : GOOD

90 seconds : VERY GOOD

120 seconds : ELITE

If any other readers would like to join in with these challenges, please post your times in the comments section below.



Star client of the weekAlex star

This week's star client goes to Alex Sayers. Alex has recently started working out again with me after giving birth three months ago. As always, she is putting in tremendous effort to every session and refuses to allow anything to beat her. Keep up the good work Alex and well done!


Please note next newsletter will be in a fortnight.




Great newsletter - so handy

Great newsletter - so handy and some helpful hints to get through chrissie and at least maintain!