Monday 14 October 2019

Karl Henry: 10-day challenge to keep your health intact for Christmas

On the 1st day of his fun challenge Karl gave to me...

Karl Henry
Karl Henry

This time next week it's going to be Christmas Eve, chances are you will have had loads of festive parties and late nights, and the main celebration is still ahead of you. With that in mind, I thought I would create a fun 10-day challenge to get you through the worst - with your health still intact.

In today's column I will give you all 10 days of the challenge, day-by-day. Take each day as it comes, complete the fitness challenge and cross it off in your mind. Let's make it fun too, I want you to think of something you would really like as a reward. Complete all 10 days and you get the reward, fail to complete the challenge and you don't get it. Fair? Ok let's go.

⬤ Day 1

I don't want to make it too hard for you on your first day, so let's make it simple. I want you to do a 30 minute fast walk or run and also three sets of 20 squats and lunges with a 30 second plank for good measure. Your food challenge is to eat three pieces of fruit today too.

⬤ Day 2

Another combination day today. Give me a 30 minute walk or run, with three sets of 15 tricep dips, press-ups and jumping jacks. Your food challenge is to ensure that you drink two litres of water.

⬤ Day 3

Hope your getting on well so far? For today's exercise challenge I want you to do a workout combining the first two days. So three sets of squats, lunges, plank, tricep dips, press-ups and jumping jacks. For your food challenge, I want you to ensure that you have breakfast tomorrow morning.

⬤ Day 4

Great work so far! You deserve a bit of a rest day after all your hard work yesterday. So for today, I want to get you standing more, stand at work or at home for one hour today. For your food challenge, I want you to cook your dinner from scratch.

⬤ Day 5

Today is the half-way mark and I thought I would throw a core session at you. Give me five sets of a 45 second plank, side plank and straight arm plank. For your food homework, I want you to chew your food for 30 seconds with each mouth full.

⬤ Day 6

Time to get the runners on today or jump into the pool, let's aim for a one hour cardio session, walk, run, cycle, swim , surf or whatever takes your fancy. Today's food challenge is to have no food after 6pm to give your digestive system a well-earned break.

⬤ Day 7 Christmas Eve

One of my favourite days of the year. Two simple challenges for today. The first is to pick a 20 minute yoga video to follow on YouTube and complete it, try to do it as early in the day as you can. In terms of food, it's going to be a full two days. I want you to ensure there is a glass of water beside your glass of alcohol when sitting at the table for dinner and alternate between the two.

⬤ Day 8 Christmas Day

Ho Ho Ho!! Time to celebrate, but try these two things first. For exercise, give me a one hour cardiovascular session, anything you want. You get a bonus point if you take part in the Christmas Day swim. For food, my advice is that you don't have to finish everything on the plate, simple finish your meal whenever you feel full, this avoids that energy zapping Christmas Day food coma.

⬤ Day 9 St Stephen's Day

Your nearly there! For today's exercise challenge I want you to do a workout combining the first two days. So three sets of squats, lunges, plank, tricep dips, press-ups and jumping jacks. Your food challenge is to make your dinner using the protein-based leftovers from yesterday's meals. That lean meat is so good for you.

⬤ Day 10

Day 10 - you did it! It's been a tough few days, but as ever those small challenges all add up. Complete today's challenge and you get your reward. For today, your exercise homework is to do five sets of 30 seconds of jumping jacks, tricep dips, squat jumps and sit-ups. For your food homework, I want you to cook a meal from scratch and cook double portions. Store the extra leftovers in the fridge and freezer for meals later in the week.

* Every week, Independent.ie features The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry, in association with Laya Healthcare. In this week's podcast, Karl talks about the nation's health with Minister Simon Harris www.independent.ie/realhealthpodcast

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