How I stayed fit and healthy over the festive season

I haven’t stepped foot inside the gym for two weeks!

Holidays and Christmas/New Year celebrations can mean it’s not so easy to keep up my fitness routine.

I’m a sucker for routine - there are a lot of things I do every single day that help keep my mind and body in check, but it’s not always possible to keep this up when I go away on holiday or am away from home longer than, say, a weekend.

This past Christmas and New Year I was away for a 10 day break, and I went to fairly isolated places - re no gym.

Three nights was spent on Kawau Island which is in the Hauraki Gulf, about a 1.5 hour drive north from Auckland, then a 15 minute boat ride. Kawau Island is stunning – basically the whole island is bush, there’s no roads, there is power and running water but apart from the one petrol station (for boats) and general store, it’s just you, nature and the sea for as long as you’re there!

There are tracks throughout the whole island which are perfect for walking and running along, plus the bays which are always dead still for some early morning swims. I ran a 4km track each day (so three times) and one day I walked it. We had our dog Abby with us as well (dogs are allowed on the island as long as they’re on a leash the whole time) so this was great incentive to get out on one of the tracks! The track had a steep hill in it

which was pretty hard work, but I didn’t stop each time I ran up it. I knew if I ran up it the first time then there was no excuse not to run up it each time after that!

There was also a tenniquoits court where I was staying which meant a “friendly” competition on New Years Eve. If you haven’t heard of Tenniquoits, it’s basically a cross between badminton and tennis, and it is played on cruise ships because tennis cannot be played (the balls would be lost over the side!). Instead of a ball, you use a rubber ring that is thrown over the net and must be caught and thrown with the same hand. This is a fairly quick game that can sometimes require you to put your body on the line in order to catch the ring. Needless to say, I’m not that good but it was still a good excuse to do some exercise!

Five nights were then spent at a bay near Coromandel town called Wyuna Bay. The house we stayed in was on a hilly road than was about 1.5km from a small beach. Each morning I took our dog for a walk to the beach, down the beach and back, which was about 40 minutes. I found a dead end street that was a steep hill as well, so I added that into the walk too.

One of the days we were in the Coromandel I did a quick HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout on the beach. This was 40 seconds of work then 15 seconds rest. I alternated tuck jumps with air squats for a total of 8 rounds. My legs were on fire after this! And I had to walk the 1.5km home on the hilly road!

On another of the days our family did a 2.5 hour bush walk on the Success Track behind Coromandel town. This was all up hill for 1.5 hours, and the lookout was amazing. We could see all of the Coromandel bay, Auckland city, Rangitoto Island, Waiheke Island and even the other side of the peninsular towards Whangapoua. This was a great track with stops along the way to rest and look out at the view, but it was continuous up hill so my legs were a satisfied fatigued afterwards!

Two of the days of my holiday were spent doing DIY activities on a house. One day was 8 hours and the second was 12.5 hours of pretty much non stop activity – crouching, bending, walking, lifting and manoeuvring. While this was not strenuous or high intensity, I did notice that I was quite hungry throughout the day and really tired by the

I needed to make sure my energy levels were met with good food these two days. One of the days I had a few lollies, and I actually noticed that about an hour later I felt really tired and hungry for more lollies/sugar. When I noticed this I just ate a banana and this kept me going for another couple of hours! This alone was quite a wake up call as I really felt the effect of the processed sugar first hand, but also noticed the sustained energy the banana gave me.

The rest of my holiday eating was on track to the ratio of about 70/30 (that is eating clean real food for 70% of the time and eating treats or less nutritional food for the other 30% of the time). There were times when I couldn't be prepared with my food so the only option I had was to eat something like bread rolls or cafe food that wouldn't usually be something I would choose. Also, if I felt like a sweet treat (especially around Christmas) then I wouldn't resist. I knew that the food was a treat and that there would come a point where I would stop having it every day so I just savoured it!

I pretty much had dessert every night of the holidays, which was a delicious luxury. I always paired the sweet food with some fruit. Herbal tea is always lovely to have in the evenings, especially after a glass of white with dinner!

Try to keep everything in moderation - food and exercise - while on holiday.

Be kind to yourself.

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