With your social life in full swing this month, there’s little chance you’ll be going sober during the festive season, right? So while it’s best not to down a bottle of wine or two and start singing Bridget Jones-style at your office Christmas bash, it’s still possible to enjoy a few drinks with work colleagues and friends, and remain healthy.
Just follow WF expert and dietician Caitlin Reid’s six easy party rules:
1. Choose a straight glass
Who would have thought the shape of your glass could affect your drinking pace? Well, according to research from the University of Bristol we drink more quickly out of curved glasses than straight ones. So, make sure your beer or spirit and soda is straight up!
2. Put your drink down
Stand close to a table so that you can put your drink down between sips. This small pause will stop you from guzzling it down and heading straight back to the bar for a top up. Just keep an eye on your drink at all times.
3. Choose clear drinks
There’s a reason why ‘vodie is for the body’ – mixing it with soda and fresh lime has a third less kilojoules than a glass of red wine, and less than half the kilojoules of a schooner of beer or a glass of white wine.
4. Empty your glass
If you’re at a function where the wait staff come around and top up your drink, avoid the temptation of an endless supply of booze by allowing your glass to be completely empty before you accept a top up. You’ll drink less and it will be easier to keep tabs on the number of drinks you consume.
5. Dance up a storm
Many venues don’t allow glasses on the dance floor, which is great for helping you minimise your alcohol intake. Once you’re shaking your groove thing, only a bad song choice will get you back to the bar.
6. Make your first drink a mineral water
Delaying your first alcoholic beverage for the night is a great way to reduce the amount of drinking time. Slowly sip your mineral water and only when you’ve completely finished it can you grab your beverage of choice.
Tune in next week for the final instalment in our party season survival guide!
Want to hit the sand for some volleyball action this summer? WF’s resident personal trainer Libby Babet shares her top tips for beach volleyballers who are new to the game…
Surviving The Sand
Running in sand slows you down, tires you out more quickly and makes it harder for you to get height out of your vertical jumps. Do some sand training before game time – squat jumps, sprints and chest-to-floor burpees. Once on the court, take smaller steps to preserve energy, stay light on your feet and keep moving so you don’t ‘sink’ your weight into the sand.
Know The Rules
1. Your team can touch the ball 1, 2, or 3 times maximum to get it over the net. Any more hits and you automatically hand the ball over, along with a point.
2. Individuals can’t touch the ball more than once in a row, but you can hit it twice, so long as another teammate touches the ball in between your hits.
3. If the ball hits the ground on your side of the court, or you’ve served it and it’s gone out of the court lines, the other team gets a point.
4. Typically, it’s the best of three rounds and within each of those rounds, the winner of the first two is the team that gets to 21 points first, with a 2-point lead. If a third round/decider is required, it’s first to 15 points, again with a 2-point lead. However, SLAM tournaments are based on two timed halves, lasting anywhere from 8-15 minutes and teams simply score as many points as they can in the time they have to win.
5. As with regular volleyball, teams rotate in a clockwise direction around the court.
Get The Skills
• ‘Digging’ or ‘passing’ is when you stop the ball from hitting your side of the court after the opposing team has spiked, or served the ball to your team. You’d perform these with the part of your arm between the elbow and wrist, but closer to your elbow. Make sure your thumbs line up flat and your forearms create a platform for the ball to hit.
• ‘Setting’ is often the second ball touch and is when a player attempts to place the ball near the net to assist the spiker in slamming the ball into the other team’s side of the court to score a point. Use a similar technique to a ‘dig’, or simply ‘pop’ the ball up high using your fingers or the palm of your hand.
• ‘Spiking’ is when you score a point by slamming the ball over the net with speed. Watch the setter closely and time your approach: complete three steps and a jump, then slam the ball down into your opponents’ side of the court at an angle, making it hard for them to hit back.
Talking to your team mid-set is one of the most important things you can do on the court. If the ball’s coming your way and you’re going to get it, let your team know by yelling, ‘me!’ and likewise, let them know if you’re not going to get it, or it’s headed out of bounds.
Ready to get slammin’? We’ll be at the SLAM Beach Volleyball Festival in Noosa Main Beach tomorrow, so come and join in on the fun! See slamfestival.com.au for details.
The singer, performer and health buff shares with WF the drive and inspiration that took her from the catwalk to being one of Australia’s most in-demand stage stars.
"Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey and Will & Grace’s Megan Mullaly make me gurgle with joy."
"Music, health and fitness are my greatest passions. A workout is like paying daily respect to the vehicle that carries me through my day."
3. Mum’s the word
"My mother inspires me more than anyone else. She’s a great artist, a passionate indigenous art curator, relentless creative, adventurer, human rights activist and friend."
4. Her hubby
"I am fortunate that my husband [Andrew Kingston] is an avid exerciser. Even when I’m dog tired, he will drag me out for a yoga class or an evening walk to pick flowers and look at the stars. I never regret it."
5. It takes two
"Signing up to be on TV singing show It Takes Two and was a huge turning point. To step from the known into the unknown, professionally, was a huge risk, but the rewards have been so satisfying."
6. Stage time
"I love the thrill of live theatre. Something magical happens when voices blend together – it affects your entire body and spirit."
7. Setting targets
"Goals are essential as they propel me to make progress in the things that I value most in my life. They help me narrow my focus on what’s important and cut out the incidental stuff."
Erika is starring in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which opens in January at the Lyric Theatre in Brisbane and tours nationally until April. For more info visit rockyhorrormusical.com.au.
I was pigging out on an entire peperoni pizza - all by myself - while on board the cruise ship Carnival Spirit when I get caught. Big time. And not just by anyone. The health police came in the form of The Biggest Loser Australia's trainer Shannan Ponton! Talk about the ultimate food shame.
Surprisingly, Shannan was forgiving. Instead of punishing me with a zillion burpees and forcing me to lug massive tyres from one side of the cruise ship to the other, all I had to do was a 15-minute workout. That’s it. Fifteen whole minutes. The workout is called The Malcolm. Watch the video to see how deceptively easy it is.
In the vid, Shannan also talks about diet (including pizza-eating) and whether or not it’s okay to drink alcohol once in a while. Let us know on Facebook how you go with The Malcolm workout on holidays. Enjoy!
Produced and presented by Lizza Gebilagin
Videography by Sam Hargraves
Edited by Claudia Sutiono
With thanks to Carnival Cruise Lines and Lorna Jane
Virginia Sherriff, senior physiotherapist and director, Pilates on Macquarie (www.ssop.com.au), tells us how to come away from a Pilates sesh feeling taller, strong and more flexible… minus any pain.
ACE IT: NEUTRAL SPINE
Completely flattening your spine or arching your back too much are easy ways to end up with unnecessary stress on your spine (ouch!). For perfect neutral spine, make sure the base of the ribs and hip bones are in alignment as you work in any posture.
ACE IT: PULLING IN YOUR CORE
When you’re instructed to ‘pull in your core’, it just feels right to suck in your tummy at full throttle. But as the deep abdominals play a big role in posture and stabilisation of the spine (and are designed for endurance) you won’t be able to hold this for very long… not to mention, you might not be able breathe! Research tells us that working our core at 20 per cent is about right if we want to work consistently and continuously.
ACE IT: A NON-FLARING RIBCAGE
If you’re sucking in your tummy too much, you’re probably also flaring out your ribs in your best bird-strutting pose. This can throw your centre of gravity out, which equals you hinging from your spine. Correct it and dodge any build-up of pressure to the joints of your spine by letting your ribs soften down towards your hip bones.
ACE IT: YOUR BREATHING
Our breathing isn’t always scoring an A+ during exercise. The fix? Pay attention to where you’re breathing from. If you notice short, fast breaths coming up around the shoulders, actively reset and direct your breath towards the base and sides of the ribcage. Hello more efficient breathing, and goodbye muscle tension building up around the neck and shoulders.
ACE IT: THE PELVIC FLOOR CONTRACTION
We can’t actually see the pelvic floor muscles contracting, which makes it pretty hard to know if they’re engaged. It’s a common mistake to end up super-squeezing your glutes instead, but this brings you no closer to strengthening your core than when you began. The contraction should be more of a drawing inwards and upwards between the legs, as if you’re trying to stop yourself from peeing. Resist relaxing your muscles between contractions and you’re all set.
ACE IT: LOWER BODY ALIGNMENT
As there’s a lot of emphasis placed on your core during Pilates we can get a bit lazy with posture around the rest of the bod (this is no good for joints, muscles and ligaments!). Don’t forget to set your body position each time you change posture and exercise. For the lower body, place an equal amount of load through each side and align the knees and feet under the hip bones.
ACE IT: HEAD, NECK AND SHOULDER BLADE POSITIONING
Crick neck, tired shoulders and an aching upper back… all avoidable by setting your head back slightly, tucking in your chin and softening your shoulders (roll them forward and back from one extreme to the other to find a happy mid-point).
If in doubt, ask your Pilates instructor for help. And don’t forget to enjoy!
From navigating your way through platters of festive treats, to finding the cure for cocktail-induced headache, WF has got you covered for the silly season. In the first installment, WF expert and nutritionist Susie Burrell shares her food dos and don’ts for the next few weeks.
1. Continue exercising: The warmer weather and daylight saving hours present a perfect opportunity to do more acvivity, not less. So make it a priority to maintain your fitness commitments.
2. Limit alcohol intake: Even at this time of year, try to have two alcohol-free days each week to give your liver a breather.
3. Get back to your routine quickly: If you do take a break, aim to return to your usual diet and exercise regimen by January 2.
4. Balance your food: Constantly remind yourself that the party season only lasts a few weeks. Enjoy good-quality treats in controlled amounts, but balance them with nutritious foods, including salads, fresh seafood and fruits, and feel better.
1. Go to parties hungry: Avoid overeating at functions by ensuring you don’t arrive starving. Try a highly filling food 60-90 minutes beforehand, such as a meal replacement or protein shake, apple, cheese and wholegrain crackers or a handful of nuts.
2. Overindulge for months: While stores have been stocked with treats for weeks, all of these are celebrating one day, not months.
3. Buy too much food: Remember, if food is there, you will eat it. Hampers, snacks, chocolates and lollies in the pantry are a recipe for disaster. Purchase only what you need.
4. Eat everything on offer: Ask yourself: “Do I really feel like eating this?” This is often enough to help control your intake.
For more tips for surviving the festive season tune in next Friday for Part 2!