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Seven ways to stay healthy over the festive season

Seven ways to stay healthy over the festive season



Seven ways to stay healthy over the festive season


By Lisa O’Neill


If we start in the way we mean to finish, the Bodies by Ryan Christmas party indicated this festive season is going to be one heck of a good time. While we are all for celebrating, having a couple of drinks, ripping up the dance floor and maybe even losing a shirt in the process (cough, Max) – we want to enter 2019 feeling as fit and healthy as we have at BBR the rest of the year, am I right?



So, without turning into the Christmas Grinch, there are things we can do to maintain some balance this December and January. Here are some of our best health and wellness practices to stock your toolkit with so you can be merry and bright all season long and not resemble the plum pudding by the time 2019 rolls in.


  1. Maintain your exercise routine – Ok, so at this time of year maybe you won’t make five from five HIIT sessions each week but it’s important to schedule in some key sessions that you attend no matter what. Maintaining fitness will not only keep your metabolism firing, it’s also really important for stress levels at a time of year when emotions ride high. If you’re away over this time, try some other gyms or a new challenge like yoga to keep the body ticking over and primed for returning to BBR in the New Year.


  1. Prioritise quality sleep – While there may be some late nights on the horizon with more social functions than normal, maintaining a good sleep routine as a rule means you’ll cope with the occasional night’s out. Like Ryan and Ayrton have told us, quality sleep is imperative to muscle growth and feeling vibrant. Prioritise eight-hours sleep during your nights in and stick to a regular sleep schedule (going to bed and waking at the same time) as often as possible.


  1. More veggies at home – When more alcohol is being consumed and less than desirable food options surrounding us, pump up the veggie content of the meals you prepare. Be super mindful at home by preparing typical BBR foods with good protein and plenty of vegetables so you’re nourishing your body with the vitamins and minerals that might be harder to come by at your work’s Christmas barbecue. So perhaps instead of the usual oats, consider an omelette filled with veggies or a green smoothie on party days. Eat some chopped veggies before the party so you don’t arrive starving and ready to devour all the mini sausage rolls.


  1. Make time to meditate - Even for the most zen of us, Christmas seems to heighten emotions (even the good ones). Calming your overused nervous system can be done with just five minutes of meditation or focused breath (refer to our Breathe blog for more details on this). Try some guided meditations on apps like Insight Timer or Headspace if you’re new to meditation or if it really isn’t your thing, do something that brings you some peace whether it’s a walk along the beach, reading or doing a crossword with your morning cup of coffee.


  1. You can say no – Have some boundaries around your time. You don’t need to attend every function or make homemade mince pies for every function you do attend. Prioritise the most important parties of the season and work out what is manageable for you. Will you really enjoy attending a breakfast, lunch and dinner in one day? What are the outcomes on your health be if you do four nights out in a row? You won’t add value to the functions you attend if you’re exhausted and not taking care of yourself, so set your boundaries to how many events you can attend in a day or week then you can consciously say yes or no based on those numbers.


  1. Nail your morning after – There will be nights where we do party a little hard and you’ve earned them, but do yourself a big favour and avoid the typical hangover food the next morning. Eat a balanced breakfast of fats, protein and carbohydrate to re-nourish your body (think poached eggs and avocado on sourdough) and before you dive into a jug of coffee, rehydrate with extra water to combat the dehydration caused by alcohol.


  1. Set your goals – Most of us will have some time off work providing the perfect space to dream up what 2019 will look like for you. It’s the ideal time to set some big goals, break them down into small, realistic steps and burst into 2019 ahead of the pack. See you on the winner’s podium of BBR’s 30-Day Challenge, you life-winning ninja.

How do you stay healthy over December and January? Learning how to SUP? Chasing the kids around the park? Share what you’re up to in the comments, legends.

SUCCESS STORY – Kelli Wilkie

SUCCESS STORY – Kelli Wilkie



SUCCESS STORY – Kelli Wilkie



On top of owning a small business with her husband (Cambuild – check out www.cambuild.com.au for some serious house inspiration) and being mum to four kids aged 11 to 17, Kelli Wilkie showed some serious determination and took out the 2017 Transformation of the Year. How the heck does she do it all? Organisation skills, goal setting and determination are key but her positive attitude bowled me over. Kelli sees what is possible and she’s worked out that looking after herself means she has more energy for her family rather than less. Here’s how our 2017 winner made it happen and continues to make impressive progress.


What was the state of your health and fitness prior to joining Bodies By Ryan?


I’ve always tried to be healthy and active. I would run the Zamia trails in Bold Park with a friend or neighbour plus any other incidental exercise, but I wasn’t doing anything with structure. I was into boxing a few years ago and loved that but I injured myself gardening, which put an end to that.


What was the motivation to take the next step and join BBR?


I was investigating the F45 model as I really wanted some high intensity, interesting workouts that changed every day. I discovered Bodies by Ryan on social media, watched that for a while and then some friends joined up. I saw it was a small business with a lot of coach/member interaction with fairly small classes (back then they were, anyway!) and being a small business owner myself, I wanted to align with and support another small business rather than a global model. My main incentive was to develop some good muscle tone, strengthen my whole body and lean up, which I knew running wasn’t going to give me.  

(check out Bodies by Ryan's IG page to see full transformation pics)



What was your first impression of the gym?


Classes: I found the classes really challenging at first and realised the fact I could go out for a 10km run didn’t translate to the fitness required for the high intensity of the 36 and 40-minute circuits. It was quite a different cardio expectation on your body, doing push-ups and burpees looks easy when other people do them but they’re hard work! I found it really fun, really challenging and I knew I just wanted to get better. I always walked out of the class sweaty and horrible but with a smile on my face.


Atmosphere: Aside from those endorphins, it’s the encouraging trainers that keep you coming back for more! The way the trainers modify things to help you get more out of each class, plus the other members are all like-minded. It’s such a non-judgemental environment at BBR, I’ve been to other classes where everyone’s looking at everyone else but there’s really no time to look at anyone else here at BBR, plus there’s so much encouragement. I love it, there’s always someone cheering on a good heavy sled run!



Food: For the first month, I very much stuck to the food plan and I wanted to. However, keeping up with the volume of food was the biggest challenge in the early stages! I had been one of those people who survived on healthy food, but ate less food than I should have and drank more coffee than I should have! I was often thinking – oh my god, I’ve got to eat again in half an hour, where am I going to put it? So my challenge was getting my metabolism and my body ready to eat more food. However, in saying that, I haven’t bulked up at all despite the extra food, I’ve just found my muscles are more defined and I’m stronger. Also, I definitely found it worked best when I did the big cook ups or food prep otherwise I’d feel like I was always in the kitchen.


How often did you have to attend BBR classes to achieve your results?


When I first started I thought I’d go three times a week with a bit of walking in between and see how I’d go. Ryan asked me straight up how many times I was coming and told me most people on the challenge try to do five or six days. So I realised that was the expectation and I thought you know what, I’m going to jump in with both feet and do it properly! I was signing up to see the transformation and to see what I could do in 30 days so I realised in order to get results I needed to listen to Ryan and give it a crack so it was an adjustment!


What challenged you the most in your early days?


The challenge for me is that I’ve always been a night owl and definitely never considered myself a morning person! However, to fit training around kids and work I have to go to the early morning classes. I’ve never made an afternoon session due to the kids and I’d come up with a million excuses why I couldn’t make them – in the morning, the only excuse I have is getting my butt out of bed! Fortunately, I find the classes so fun and motivational that I gain energy from them. I know I feel better when I’ve got up and done a class, I come back with energy to get everyone ready. It’s worth getting my butt out of bed, because I feel so good for doing it!


My advice to new people is to find what works for you and commit to those sessions. It’s really important to do one thing each day for yourself. While I considered night times when the kids are in bed my “me time”, now my morning workout has become that special time and once I’ve been to the gym, it starts my day off so well and I know whatever happens for the rest of the day, I’ve done that one thing for me.


How quickly did you see and feel progress?


I could definitely feel myself getting fitter and stronger gradually, but it was the photos at the end of the 30 days where I saw a visible improvement. Seeing those pictures really motivated me and I immediately considered them the next starting point to see where I could go next! Also, scales are misleading and I realised there wasn’t much benefit to weighing in as you put on muscle as you’re losing fat.


The biggest change I noticed at the end of the 30-Day Challenge was that I leaned up in my core a lot, I toned up overall and definitely got stronger. I started out struggling to do push-ups on my knees and built up to doing them on my toes and not needing to drop to my knees at all. After four pregnancies, it was really important to bring in my mid-section and tighten up my back. Running wasn’t going to do that, that’s for sure!



What do you attribute your success in winning the Transformation of the Year?


Having the food readily available due to plenty of cook ups, because it became easier to grab that than eat or drink anything else. It’s a no-brainer! Plus, you don’t want to waste the food either.


Setting my goal and knowing what I wanted really clearly, which was to be the BBR 30-Day Challenge winner. Even if I didn’t win it, I wanted to strive for that and do as much as I could by sticking to the plan. At a certain age, you sort of think maybe I’m past having a crack when there are lots of really young fit things working out so I really wanted to prove to myself I could do it! That really motivated me. I won the second challenge I did in July last year, then my goal evolved to go big and win the Transformation of the Year.


It’s been over a year since you won the 30-Day Challenge, how do you stay motivated?


I followed the food plan to the letter and was alcohol free in the first 30 days, but then life happens, you go out to social occasions and you want to stick to the plan (#STTP)! However, the whole reason we go to the gym and do the challenges is because you have to live a little as well and have some balance. Being surrounded by alcohol and naughty food is definitely a challenge for me!! So, now I factor social events into the three cheat meals each week.


I found initially I was so focused on my results that I was okay saying no last June for my challenge and then I did dry July and sober October, so doing an alcohol-free month or two really helped and in between I would relax things a little and have the weekend off.



Which station at the HIIT gym is your favourite and why?


One that I use as a challenge is the chin-ups because I’m really bad at it! I don’t love them, but I need them to be there because I really want to get better at them and do a certain number. Traditionally women struggle at chin ups because we don’t tend to have the upper body strength men do so pumping out chin-ups is a big deal!


If you could avoid any particular type of exercise, what would it be?


My least favourite is the ass bike! I always try to start on it and get it out of the way, plus it gets your heart rate up early. Once you’ve done that, it’s all downhill from there! I’m a happy person once the bike is done.


What do you do outside of the gym and meal plan to achieve your health goals?


I start every morning with a glass of water before a shot of coffee and then I have my apple cider vinegar. I’ll always try to squeeze in a walk in the afternoon or early evening with dog. I still love to walk the Zamia trail when I have enough time because the views are spectacular and the fresh air is great.


What’s your favourite local café and your order there?


I love to sit out on the deck at Odyssea in City Beach with a long black (it used to be a flat white ha!) and a really nice porridge or acai bowl depending on the weather being cold or hot!


What are some of the goals you are currently working towards?


Over winter I moved to the strength gym, which was great when it was cold and hard to drag your butt out of bed because you partner up and if you don’t go – you let your partner down! So if you say you’re going, you definitely go! Because of my time there, I haven’t been to the HIIT gym until recently and I found I lost some of the benefits I picked up from there (yep - it’s a bit of a struggle right now!). So, my challenge now is to do a bit of a hybrid of strength and HIIT to find the balance between the two workouts, as they’re quite different. The balance I’m aiming for is to gain the cardio fitness you get from HIIT classes while not losing any strength I’ve gained from the strength gym!



Fast five favourites


  1. Holiday destination - America! We have a huge family extravaganza soon with the kids doing Disneyland, Las Vegas, helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon and Lake Tahoe for New Years.
  2. Cheat meal - Bao buns!
  3. Song to train to - Anything ACDC.
  4. Book - The Pilgrim
  5. Spirit animal - Whenever I go to the zoo I love the meerkats! They’re so inquisitive, energetic and always seem to be smiling. They always have something going on!