Life & Living

Health & Fitness

Chantel Heath

INSTAGRAM: @chantelheathfitness

I’m a 41 year old mother of two & Personal Fitness coach. I work one to one, in person & online with clients aged 18-80. My specialisms include pre & postnatal training, cancer rehab, pilates, & GP exercise referrals. I run fitness classes online and in person in the Suffolk Coastal area. I am also a Mental Health First aider.

Getting back on track 

Ok, so who’s suffering from a Christmas Hangover? Not the booze related kind of hangover, but the horrid feeling that comes from days of too much food and drink, and nowhere near enough physical activity. All motivation and drive is completely AWOL. Sound familiar? Here are my top tips for getting back on track.

Don’t beat yourself up about it.

It really isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a bump in the road. Anyone who has made a lasting change to their health and fitness will tell you that it takes more than a couple of weeks ‘being good’ to make a difference and the same is true in this case. Going off track for a couple of weeks is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Get up!

We all enjoy a lie in every now and then but over Christmas it can become the norm. While that can be good to help us recharge, we can quickly fall into the trap of ‘lazy’ mornings in bed just dozing, and feeling sluggish when we do finally get out of bed. Half the day is gone and you’ve barely done anything! Get into the habit of setting your alarm and getting up at a more normal time. This can really help to get you ready for the day ahead, and will make the return to your normal routine less of a shock to the system.

Get outside

Fresh air and daylight is so important for our health, especially during the winter months. Exposure to natural light helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, boosts our immune system, improves our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns, helps us to focus, enables us to get more done, and even makes us happier. So get yourself out and about. Just a 15 minute walk will do wonders for you!

Make use of that Christmas present!

Did you get a smartwatch for Christmas? Then use it! Keeping an eye on your daily steps can be a great way to motivate yourself to become more active! For heart health, keep an eye on your heart rate, and try to push yourself into zone 2 whenever you can as this is the level that will really help to improve your cardiovascular health. Because zone 2 is classed as fairly easy exercise, it’s a great way to boost your fitness levels without putting major stress on your body.

Ditch the Christmas snacks.

Yes they are delicious, no you do not need to eat them all so they don’t go to waste! Many of the snacks we eat over christmas can be very high in sugar, which in general can have a negative impact on our energy levels, mood, appetite, and generally just leave us feeling a bit meh! If you genuinely feel like you can’t be trusted not to eat them all, get them out of the house!


Water, not the leftover Christmas booze! In the long term too much alcohol massively increases your chances of suffering from many serious health conditions. In the short term it affects your sleep quality, which will in turn affect your energy levels, motivation and appetite. The NHS currently recommends the average adult should consume 6-8 glasses (1.5 – 2.5L) of fluid per day. This doesn’t have to be just water, hot drinks, squash and juice all count, but bear in mind some of these other drinks may be high in sugar and other ingredients that should be consumed in moderation.

HIIT it!

Boost your energy and motivation levels by doing a short workout. It may sound counterintuitive, especially if you’re really struggling to motivate yourself, but nothing energizes you like a quick workout. This is where HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), can be great. The idea is that you work hard for a short period, followed by a recovery period. For example 30 seconds of maximum effort followed by 30 seconds rest. Repeat 10 times for a short, but endorphin boosting workout. You really can do this anywhere, out walking or cycling, at home on an exercise bike, or choose a few exercises such as squats, push ups, lunges and star jumps to go through. The key thing here is that everyone’s maximum effort will be different, so just work at a pace that feels challenging for you. In the 30 seconds rest, either stop completely or slow down to a very gentle recovery pace.

Don’t get sucked in…

The diet pushers are out in force this time of year, promising to have you lose vast amounts of weight in just a few weeks if you buy their shake/workout plan/diet pills. And if you buy their product and severely restrict your calorie intake for a few weeks you will almost certainly lose weight. You will probably also lose a lot of money, your social life, and find yourself feeling tired, hungry and miserable. The key to long lasting and sustainable weight loss is patience and making small changes. Look out for my February column where I will be sharing some of the easy nutrition coaching tips I use with my clients who want to reduce their body fat.