Post-Holiday Shape-Up

 ‘Twas the season to be jolly, and my, were you ever. Alas, all those butter-baster dinners, tempting trays of finger food and flutes of fizz have wreaked havoc with your once-svelte waistline. Hours in front of the television have dragged you into a mire of inertia, and the thought of going back to work fills you with horror. Fear not. You can combat post-festivity blues, boost your energy levels and tone your bulging booty with a new regime. Here’s how -

Set a goal
After a few sludgy months of overindulgence, you can’t snap into a racehorse-regime of five fruit and veg, eight glasses of water, 1200 calories and a 6am jog every day. You have to set realistic goals, and be persistent in your efforts to attain them. Set a small target, reach it, and then set another. It might be to lose three pounds. It could be to go to the gym twice in one week. You may challenge yourself to take a healthy packed lunch into work every day. Whatever your goal, you’re more likely stay motivated if you aim low and succeed, than if you set yourself up to fail one colossal challenge.

Buddy up

Working with a friend or partner to get fit is immensely motivating, and will immediately double your commitment to change. Hiking is more sociable than running, but can still give your body all the benefits without the strain. All you need is a good pair of women’s or men’s hiking boots to protect your feet, and set out into the wilderness together with your beau. Take a (healthy!) romantic picnic, a camera and some binoculars for a healthy day out that’s more charm-packed than chore-like.

Spend a little
If you invest in yourself, it’s more likely you’ll see a return. Buy some workout clothes that flatter your body. Splash out on some audio books to motivate your morning run. Sign up for a gym membership, or buy some snazzy new weights and a workout DVD. Invest in a bike with a view to cycling to work once a week. Whatever you choose to spend your money on, make a vow to justify your spend.

Break from the norm
Every so often, allow yourself an activity day. Snowboarding, skiing and indoor climbing can burn up to 600 calories per hour, and are great fun as part of a group if you can convince your friends to come along. Sign up to a boxing class. Try salsa dancing. Love it or hate it, try Zumba, just the once. Even if you don’t go back, augmenting your workout routine with something different can be all you need to stay motivated.

Do you have 'start working out' or 'join a gym' in your list of new year resolutions?