How to stay fit during pre-Christmas time?

We’re moving into a very busy time – Christmas. For some of us, pre-Christmas time means a lot of preparation including a lot of running around, shopping for presents, baking for our Christmas table, and also trying to do a lot of work prior to chilling out with our family and friends. It can also mean we start skipping our regular exercise routines, even though this is exactly the time when we need a lot of energy to help get it all done. Maintaining your regular exercise routine will also boost your metabolism, so you can afford that extra treat during Christmas.

To help with your Christmas preparation, I thought it might be handy to have a 20 minute workout ready when you do get that spare moment or two…


SET-UP: sitting on the floor with spine in neutral and straight legs; feet are flexed and shoulders width apart; arms parallel with palms facing each other

MOVEMENT: inhale deeply – to prepare; exhale roll down with spine articulation (one vertebrae at a time); inhale – to pause; exhale re-stack the spine vertebrae to sitting-up position


SET-UP: lying on the floor on your back with arms in T position and palms facing down; legs in tabletop position (hips/knees in alignment)

MOVEMENT: inhale deeply – lower legs to one side; exhale – gently draw abdominals in and return to legs to tabletop position; repeat on the other side.


SET-UP: lying on your back with spine in neutral and with bent knees; arms on the floor and 45 degrees from the body

MOVEMENT: exhale lift one leg up (from hip joint) keeping the same knee level; inhale – lower leg down; repeat on the other side.


SET-UP: lying on your back with legs in tabletop position (hips/knees in alignment); exhale lift arms (to the side of the body), head and chest

MOVEMENT – arms pump up and down in small motion


SET-UP: lying on one side with one elbow bent underneath of the body (elbow/shoulder in alignment); legs together and slightly in front of the body

MOVEMENT: on the exhale – lift top leg slightly above hip height; inhale – flex with swing top leg forward; exhale – point toes and swing top leg back


SET-UP: lying face down with arms overhead and on the floor; exhale – lift all extremities, head and chest off the floor

MOVEMENT: inhale – lift opposite arm/leg for four counts and the exhale – lift opposite arm/leg for four counts

7. PUSH UP (kneeling)

SET-UP: start from the plank position (hands on the floor in alignment with shoulders; hips lifted off the floor; straight legs with heels pulling down) – bent knees; elbow creases forward

MOVEMENT: inhale – bend elbows; exhale – extend elbows and lift pelvis upward; walk hands toward the feet and roll up; inhale – prepare; exhale – roll down and walk hands forward to the starting position – drop on your knees and repeat the movement from the beginning


SET-UP: sitting with bend legs; lift both legs off the floor while you place arms under legs and on top of ankles; gently draw in the abdominals

MOVEMENT: inhale roll back and clap feet three times; exhale – roll up to starting position and clap feet three times


SET-UP: lying face down with straight legs (together); interlock fingers behind back and hold elbows on the mat; turn your face to rest on one of your cheeks

MOVEMENT: exhale – bend both legs and kick three times; inhale – extend the back and straightening the arms/legs; lower the body and rest on the other cheek


SET-UP: standing with feet hip distance apart; spine in neutral and hips/knees in alignment

MOVEMENT: inhale – prepare; exhale – roll down with spine articulation; gently draw abdominals in; inhale – prepare; exhale – roll back re-stacking the vertebrae on top of each other

Muscle focus – abdominals, back extensors, triceps

The key objectives of these exercises are: spinal articulation, trunk stabilisation, hamstring control and stretch, spinal rotation, pelvic lumbar stabilisation, abdominal control, obliques endurance, hip disassociation, hip flexor and extensor stretch, back extensors strength, scapulae stabilisation, mind and body coordination, elbow and pectoral strength

This workout is short and challenging enough for any fitness level, and you’ll feel great afterwards. I’d like to suggest that you repeat each exercise four to six times and perform this routine three to four times per week. That comes to 60 to 80 minutes per week. Wow, that’s not much and you’ll be surprised how energised you’ll feel afterwards.

Leave us a comment and ask any questions about the our suggested exercise routine. Sometimes it’s good to see the exercises demonstrated – we’d love to help you start your Christmas exercise routine, so just get in touch!

Why does resistance exercise hurt?

Well, as the old saying goes “no pain, no gain”. However, there is a bit more to it.

In the last few decades we’ve been living a very sedentary life-style and our muscles are paying a very high price for it – they’re getting weaker, and at the same time, our joints are getting stiffer. Some people would say it’s just a normal part of ageing. That’s true and I think the root cause is inactivity. Building strong muscles is important to prevent strains and injuries and also to avoid bone and joint injuries.

So, what causes pain during and after exercise? There are many reasons why doing resistance training can hurt. One of the most common reasons for injury is the tendency to push the body too hard and overdo it – perhaps making up for lost time. Some people think they’re Superman or Superwoman and they just go from one workout to the other…and they get hurt. However, our body needs a break between workouts. In addition, poor technique can quite often cause or worsen pain.

I’ll admit, Pilates is a complex exercise that can be challenging to learn. It requires a lot of concentration, co-ordination, the correct breathing technique and a ‘brain workout’, particularly in first few weeks. But I can guarantee that for most people, it’s all worth it. If you do Pilates regularly, you probably know now that in our classes, we put a lot of importance on engaging deep core muscles.

Why are these muscles so important?

They support your spine and also enable you to breathe more easily. They also support some of the internal organs such as the bladder that, if not trained properly, could lead to some unwanted issues such as incontinence. Proper breathing is so important, so if you find yourself becoming rigid or holding the breath during the exercises, you might need to review your technique or get help from a Pilates professional or physiotherapist.

Unfortunately, some people have quite weak core muscles because they haven’t used them at all or haven’t used them properly. It’s important to understand that core stability is not the same as core rigidity. If you aren’t using core muscles properly, it can cause overuse of the superficial muscles – the so-called six-pack (abdominus rectus). Furthermore, if you are experiencing back pain and/or movement limitations, it’s likely that you are re-enforcing the incorrect technique whilst you exercise. 

Once again, if you have any symptoms of pain or discomfort, it’s important that you have an individual assessment with a health professional such as a physiotherapist or a qualified Pilates teacher who can assess your strength and range of motion. Once you’ve been assessed, you might need to do some specific exercises to help train your body correctly.  

What is the key objective of resistance training? - to improve your strength, flexibility and muscle tone. However, it’s important to do it correctly. You need allow some time to learn the basics first and then you can add on more challenging exercises/programs. It is also recommended that you vary your exercises and don’t use the same muscles every day. Overall, everybody will benefit form regular exercise, and the end goal is to do it without pain and feel good so, you can build strong body and avoid strains injuries due to inactivity.

If you feel like you would like to have a better understanding of your fitness level, your strength and range of motion, I’d encourage you to book for an Initial Assessment. 

Call us on 0415 128 804 or send us an email with your preferred date and time.