James Haskell’s secrets to getting back into shape
Let’s face it; everyone lets themselves go over Christmas with a view to getting back into shape now. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to register for the gym, but what normally happens is that you go once or twice and then let things slip. Statistically speaking, sadly this will happen to the majority of you, which means the only people who win in January are the gyms.
Jumping back on the healthy wagon can be tough after the various festive indulgences; after all, it has been a long season of merriness this year. Exercise is only part of the battle and nutrition is much more important than you think.
With this in mind, I have come up with my top tips to help readers of The Sloaney return to a fit and healthy lifestyle this month…
Greens are king:
After several weeks of delicious treats, it can be hard to get back to normal eating habits. While the temptation remains to pile your plate to the rafters with lovely carb heavy treats, greens should be your first choice. You can never over-kill on vegetables and the more colour you have, the better. This will give you a good shot of vitamins and nutrients, which will make up for those late nights and big drinking sessions. The latter can run you down and lead to illness, which is the last thing you want to add to the post-Christmas blues.
If I showed you a pie-chart of your ideal plate composition, I would want to see a large share of the chart made-up of protein. A large share featuring vegetables and the remainder of the chart – the smallest element by far – comprising your choice of carbs.
If you don’t fancy eating greens at every meal, then you can always get out your juicer and put together some really tasty morning – or any other time of the day – drinks, which will give you all the vitamins and minerals you need.
All you need to do is get a decent juicer; I use the Tribest Green Star Elite and then start experimenting. A quick Google search will give a variety of suggestions and recipe options. Some will be basic, some very exotic. Without fail, somewhere among the eclectic collection will be one or two which are perfect for you!
Juices are brilliant between meals. I have just posted a new avocado smoothie recipe on my YouTube channel Jh BodyFire TV that goes down an absolute treat.
Don’t start cutting out meals. This is a fatal mistake and leads to endless snacking. Eat your normal meal plan, which should be three or four meals a day. Avoid pre-dinner snacks and loitering round the kitchen, where it is easy to pick at bits.
Throw out left over food:
If your fridge is still packed full of leftovers, clear it out. Try and give some food away to guests or keep the family pets happy by giving them a treat (obviously you need to be very careful what you give to your animals, so always check).
Make sure you recycle all the healthy bits. I can assure you I will be whipping out the tuppawear and my 6 pack bag from the guys at Extreme Nutrition and eating all the left-over vegetables and meat I can get my hands on.
You do need to be strong. Get rid of all the cakes, sweets, sugar-laden treats and bad carbs – don’t let them linger. If you have them in the house, we all know they will get eaten in some way or another. Remember one of the key actions and mantras is remove the temptation!
Maximise your water intake during the day, especially if you have been drinking lots of alcohol. Try to double the amount of water you would normally drink. This will help with digestion and recovery.
Drink lots of electrolytes. My favorite hangover recovery trick is to take a sachet of Dioralyte, a Berroca and loads of water and this can work at anytime. A good sign of whether you are hydrated again is if your urine runs clear. If it is bright yellow then you are most probably dehydrated.
Relax and get your sleep:
You need to take time to relax. Don’t go crazy with working out at this time of year as relaxing is an important part of staying healthy and fit. Not just because it is good for your mind and your stress levels, but also because relaxing and resting will mean you have enough energy to exercise on other days.
If your stress levels are high, this produces hormones which can affect how you digest food. Think about how you enjoy relaxing and make sure you allow some time to do it! You might like a hot, steamy bath, an invigorating exfoliating session or a face mask. Or you may just like to cosy-up in front of a fire or lie down and listen to some music.
You can always look to boost your health by taking on some supplements. I would recommend taking Vitamin D, as this can help with recovery!
We normally get this from the sun, but sadly seeing the sun at the moment is often rare. I would also suggest taking some Omega 3 (EPA) fish oils, which most people have a deficiency with. Omega 3 helps in growth and repair. Studies have shown it can be a factor in helping prevent disease.
If you know you are going to need a boost to get you up and training in January or if you just want to get some fat-burning help straight from the off, then you should try my fat burners: HADES for men and HELLA for women. More information can be found here.
One thing you should definitely add to your diet to help with immune boosting is Virgin Coconut Oil. It’s a great saturated fat your body needs and is full of MCTs which provide energy. It is very high in Lauric Acid and Monolaurin, which help support the immune system as well as killing bacteria and pathogens -ideal for people suffering from any digestive complaint.
I suggest using it as a substitute for all spreads as an oil to cook everything with or just to have with a cup of coffee to boost your energy. This is an absolute must have for anyone remotely serious about health and nutrition. There are a number of options out there. Mine, which is called Tagaloa, is a premium organic version is also available at www.jhbodyfire.com there are even some recipes on the site.
Remember you don’t have to be in the gym for hours, but you do need to work hard when you are there – HIIT work or circuit training is good. Also, informed studies show that exercising after you have eaten reduces blood sugar spikes. There is a very good article in Timothy Ferris’s book, “The 4-hour Body” all about this aspect. There are some exercises like body-weight squats and wall presses that when done for a blast of 30- 50 reps of each after eating, really help.
Training after eating means you are much less likely to reach for snacks in the evening. If you can’t get out for your normal session, you could just suggest going for a walk with the people you have eaten with or the family dog will also get some great benefit as well.
If you want to read more from James about health and fitness, visit www.jhbodyfire.com or watch his training sessions, nutrition advice, recipes and interviews on his Youtube channel Jh Bodyfire TV. You can follow James on twitter @jameshaskell or @jhbodyfire. As of January 2014 James will be regular weekly contributor for the Daily Mail Plus app.