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Health & Fitness

Shake off January blues with a workout

Anyone who has tried to lose weight and keep it
Anyone who has tried to lose weight and keep it off knows how difficult the process can be. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The festive season is over and so is the holiday binge filled with cheat meals and cheat days leaving behind hangovers to weight gain.

The looming wardrobe overhaul to accommodate the new body size all in the wake of school fees and all those New Year resolutions is quite a bit to handle, let’s not forget that long overdue gym membership.

Emma Nyambura, a nutritionist and fitness trainer at Fitisasa Health and Wellness Centre in Mtwapa, admits that an influx at the gym in January is not news to her, since that is when she has more clients. For most of us, the New Year usually start with a number of resolutions and one of them is losing weight.

“Most gym registration occurs in the second and third week of January. I think January is more of a gym honeymoon, due to the New Year resolutions,” says Nyambura.

Achieving a “perfect” body shape is anyone’s dream, but actualising that dream can be a nightmare. Most experts will advise you to go burn your calories through exercise but anyone who has tried to lose weight and keep off adding more calories knows how difficult the process can be.

“I would never advice any individual to go on a diet at any time seasonal or not. A healthy lifestyle is long term,” says Nyambura.

“Generally, the main reason why people add weight after the holidays is because of their poor eating habits and even overeating,” she adds.

Sarah Wanjiru, who is also a fitness trainer says the reason she has high number of clients at the gym in January is mostly because of the food available during the festivities. “Holidays are known for parties, sweet treats and family time. It is where food is piled everywhere and the temptation is high,” she said adding that it is the overindulgence during the festive season leads to weight gain making people rush back to the gym to lose those extra kilograms.

Josephine Muchilwa, proprietor and instructor at Zen Cycle states that many people grapple with post-festivity weight gains and hangovers that are hard to simply shake off by burning calories as most fitness instructors recommend. She points out that this simple strategy rarely works out for many people.

“Anyone who has tried to lose weight and keep it off knows how difficult the process can be. Achieving a perfect body shape is anyone’s dream, but actualising that dream can be a nightmare. Most experts will tell you to go burn your calories through exercise and voila— you think it is as simple as the time it took to utter the phrase,” says Muchilwa.

Progressive high intensity, low impact workouts targeting the entire body such as spin cycling are seen as more suitable options for weight loss.

“Given that you are riding for 45 minutes, your gluteus, hamstrings and quadriceps and calf muscles are engaged leading to overall strength. The upper body is also engaged by use of hand weights depending on how an instructor structures their class,” she says. The fitness enthusiast states that during the 45 minutes exercise, the lower body is engaged throughout the workout with a single session burning between 500 to 650 calories making indoor cycling one of the fastest ways of losing weight and toning muscles.

Muchilwa says that the idea to dive into the fitness market was borne out of the need to offer something different in the fitness industry and cater for not only the physical needs but also mental nourishment. “Classes are designed to motivate any fitness level and instructors motivate you to get to the results that you have been looking for,” she says.

According to Muchilwa, people with all levels of fitness are able to do this work-out because there is minimal impact on the hips, knees and joints making it a great workout for people recovering from injuries or individuals with back or knee problems.

“It is the best thing you could do for yourself- it is fun, it gets results and you will leave feeling like a superhero and rock star all rolled up in one. It is one of the most effective and time efficient workout,’’ she explains.

She explains that at Zen Cycle they do not only focus on fitness goals, but also on the mind and spirit (custodians of hangovers) of a trainee, key ingredients that if not reined on usually cause relapse in most people who take exercising, through what they call ‘a dance party on a bike’ where instructors motivate, challenge and entertain throughout the session creating a very unique experience guided by motivational and fun play-lists.

“This form of exercise lowers stress through the release of a happy mood inducing hormones known as endorphins, as one experiences rush when doing an indoor cycling, which reduce stress levels, resulting into a feeling of excitement throughout the day,” adds Muchilwa.

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