It’s well and truly that time of year again. Social invitations and cheese platters abound, and long summer days have us reaching for a cold glass of rosé come 5 o’clock (rather than reaching for a new PB in the gym). Ahhh, Christmas. Our dear friend and worst enemy. 

If you’re look­ing to bal­ance the summer’s fes­tiv­i­ties with exer­cis­es that don’t involve pound­ing the pave­ment or being stuck on a machine for hours on end, we have some good news for you: our beloved Bay of Plen­ty offers a huge vari­ety of health and fit­ness options to help you look and feel your best while laz­ing around the­se hol­i­days (prefer­ably on a large reclin­er in the sun, cock­tail in hand). Below are our top three work­outs to try this sum­mer:   

Functional fitness

WhatRather than blast­ing a speci­fic mus­cle group at a time as you do with con­ven­tion­al weight train­ing, func­tion­al fit­ness focus­es on improv­ing the body as a whole to ensure it acts like a well-oiled machine not only in the gym but at home, at work and in any oth­er sit­u­a­tion life throws at you. 

Accord­ing to Reece Spee, own­er of Spee Train­ing in the Mount, func­tion­al train­ing is about prac­tis­ing, adapt­ing, cor­rect­ing and strength­en­ing move­ment pat­terns that cross over into our day to day life. “This type of train­ing gives you con­fi­dence to be adven­tur­ous and dar­ing with your sports and hob­bies, as opposed to a gym equip­ment envi­ron­ment that restricts your nat­u­ral flow and move­ment. Group train­ing is also a great way to meet new, like-mind­ed peo­ple.”

WhyThe key ben­e­fits of func­tion­al train­ing include pos­ture and aware­ness, injury pre­ven­tion, co-ordi­na­tion, flex­i­bil­i­ty and con­di­tion­ing. It’s also great for those who may have hit a weight-loss plateau, or for those who are time-poor (high inten­si­ty train­ing means your work­outs don’t need to be long in order to see great results, win-win!). 

Keen? If you don’t have a train­ing back­ground, Reece says it’s impor­tant to ease your way in to func­tion­al train­ing. “A 30min dai­ly walk and sim­ple body weight move­ments like squats, lunges, push-ups and basic planks is a good place to start. How­ev­er, it’s impor­tant to get your tech­nique right — your local func­tion­al fit­ness facil­i­ty will be able to guide you on your jour­ney to becom­ing func­tion­al­ly fit. It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that fit­ter, faster, stronger isn’t a des­ti­na­tion — it’s a way of life!”

Yoga

WhatThe last few years have seen thou­sands of Kiwis swap tread­mills for yoga mats, and it’s not hard to see why. From fast and sweaty Vinyasa to slow and relax­ing Yin, yoga is a phys­i­cal, men­tal and spir­i­tu­al prac­tise that can be done any­where, any­time, and boasts a raft of health ben­e­fits (from reduced stress to reduced waist­line).

Stephanie Olver, own­er of Mount Yoga — the only hot stu­dio in the Bay — says ‘hot yoga’ is also soar­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty with peo­ple of all ages and abil­i­ties.

WhyBefore you start sweat­ing at the thought of doing yoga in a 35-degree heat­ed room, it’s impor­tant to note that the ben­e­fits of yoga extend far beyond flex­i­bil­i­ty. “Time in a pose allows you to get present and observe your thoughts rather than being caught up in them – this is what keeps peo­ple com­ing back long after they’re able to touch their toes.”

Inflex­i­ble and unco­or­di­nat­ed? No wor­ries! Steph says yoga is for any­one game enough to give it a go. “Very few peo­ple are nat­u­ral­ly flex­i­ble — the rea­son we do yoga is to gain flex­i­bil­i­ty, strength and ease of move­ment, along with all the men­tal ben­e­fits. Each style of yoga we offer is quite dif­fer­ent (Bikram, Hot Pilates, Ash­tan­ga Rock­et, Vinyasa and Yin yoga), so there’s def­i­nite­ly a style for every­one.”

KeenTry­ing a few pos­es at home, like lying on the floor with your legs up the wall for 10 min­utes, is a great way to intro­duce your­self to yoga. “Do some sim­ple stretch­es while you’re watch­ing TV so it doesn’t feel like a chore. If you are keen to try a class, it’s a good idea to call the stu­dio where your local class­es are run to ensure you pick the right class for your lev­el of expe­ri­ence. Once you’re there, just enjoy the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be present and switch off from the out­side world – you’ll feel amaz­ing for it.”

A modern take on water aerobics

WhatThis one is for the adven­tur­ous-yet-injury-prone — the ‘Longe-Côte’ (walk along the coast) was born in 2007 in the North of France and is now boom­ing across the globe, includ­ing here in New Zealand. 

The Longe-Côte coast walk is recog­nised as ‘true ocean ther­a­py’ and con­sists of wad­ing in the sea, par­al­lel to the beach, some­times with a pad­dle or an oar. The resis­tance of water (of vary­ing depth, from waist to mid-chest) helps to work and tone dif­fer­ent parts of the body. Bay locals can now try this new activ­i­ty for them­selves through­out the year dur­ing 60-min­ute ses­sions in groups of 5–10 peo­ple on Mount Maun­ganui beach. Trés bon!

WhyFrom improv­ing the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem and endurance lev­els to sup­port­ing blood flow, this dis­ci­pline is a fun and exhil­a­rat­ing new way to earn your pro­tein shake.

Omanu life­guard and Founder of Mount Maun­ganui Longe-Côte, the love­ly (and very French) Nico­las Fromont, says the activ­i­ty is easy on the joints (great for those who want to exer­cise with­out the joint dam­age asso­ci­at­ed with run­ning), sup­ports weight loss and com­bats stress, fatigue and asth­ma. “Salt, sand and surf is also great for your over­all health and well­be­ing, whether you’re look­ing to achieve leisure-based or ath­let­ic-based goals.”

KeenWhy wouldn’t you be – all you need is a wet­suit! If you want to get acquaint­ed with the idea alone first, head to your near­est beach and prac­tise wad­ing through the water at dif­fer­ent depths, throw­ing in a few arm move­ments and lunges to warm up. Once you’re feel­ing com­fort­able in the water, grab a mate and book in for a ses­sion with Nico­las.

Sum­mer is the per­fect time to kick­start your 2018 health and fit­ness goals, but it’s also a time to enjoy your­self – so drink the wine, eat the choco­late and try to move your body every day. We live in one of the most beau­ti­ful places on earth, so whether you’re pow­er walk­ing in the ocean, hit­ting the gym, get­ting bendy in the stu­dio or con­quer­ing Mauao, there’s cer­tain­ly worse places to break a sweat, right?!