What you should be doing between Christmas & New Year | New Year’s Resolutions

Christmas festivities of 2016 have officially come to a close whilst simultaneously the preparations to welcome in 2017 have began.

Twitter today has been filled with positive tweets about people getting a head start on their New Year’s Resolutions – fantastic to see!

I am a big believer in seizing the moment and taking action. On this occasion however, I urge you to pause for a hot minute.

Of recent years, people tend to roll their eyes when it comes to New Years Resolutions and almost gleefully mock them. They get taken as about as seriously as Fat Amy took cardio:

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There is even a statistic as to the date the majority of people will give up on their resolutions by (It’s January 9th if you’re wondering).

I asked you to pause on taking action on your resolutions for a hot minute because I don’t want you to form part of that statistic and I’m almost certain you don’t want to make up part of it either.

First things first, you gotta take it seriously. No point in half assing it, after all if you’re gonna do anything in life better to use your full ass. That being said, the best way to make sure you are serious about anything is to be specific. It’s like when you see an old friend and you part ways saying you will have to get together for a coffee in the next few weeks, chances are you’re both walking away knowing that isn’t gonna happen but if you said “oh let’s go for coffee on Thursday”, you know chances are you’re going for coffee with that person on Thursday.

“If you’re going to do anything in life, better to use your full ass”

Tip number 1: be specific.

If you want to get stronger, how much stronger – an extra kilogram or 10 extra kilograms? If you want to lose weight, how much weight? If you want to get faster, how much faster? If you want to run further, how much further? You get my gist.

Now the goal is specific and you know exactly what you want you are off to a strong start. For the first few weeks that will be more than enough to keep you going. Motivation will begin to dip at some point though. The brain is not a big fan of change so when motivation dips you will find you are having lots of negative thoughts about pursuing your goal. One of the strongest will be ‘why am I even doing this?!’ Well let me tell you, that question alone is strong enough to bring your progression to a rather abrupt halt. Particularly, if you don’t actually know why you want to achieve the goal or if the reason your telling yourself is very superficial. Now I’m not saying you have to want to go to the gym to become super muscley but if your going to look good, why do you want to look good? and therein we have the next step for succes:

Tip number 2: Reason.

Be so deep and specific in your why that you can actually feel it. That way when push comes to shove, you know your why is strong enough to get you through!

Motivation is high, nothing can get in your way (I mean there is a reason they say to never try to stop a woman on a mission) so off you go. Take the first step. Oh yes, the first step. How exactly are you going to set about achieving your goal?

Tip number 3: Plan.

Plan. That’s how.  Again, this is all about being specific. If you need to increase trips to the gym, are you increasing them by one per week or one per year? Make your plan so water tight that you can’t fail unless you consciously bail on yourself (because it is actually harder than you imagine to make the concious decision to fail). For example, every Monday and Wednesday I’m going to yhe gym between 8 and 9pm. Failure to stick with such appointments is a conscious decision. Therefore meaning you are holding yourself totally accountable for your progress.

Finally and quite possibly one of the most important aspects of goal setting is tip number 4.

Tip number 4: Review.

Reviewing progress. Being able to set aside time to review the process and progress on an appropriately regular basis will significantly aid achievement. If you only assess your goal again at the end of 2017 to find it was in January that you went off track, that’s 11 months of being off track without really noticing/doing anything about it. Alternatively, if you review each month, you have much clearer indicators as to what works and what doesn’t giving you time to amend and adapt as and when required. Remember, your progress is a direct result of your input. Stay in control.

A gift for you.

As a thank you for your continued support over 2016, I have a gift fo you.

I have designed a New Years Resolution planner to help you enter 2017 ready and prepared to smash you goals. Simply click below to download. Complete the plan then put it somewhere you will see it every day. This is a promise to yourself, seeing it every day will act as a means of encouragement, reinforcing the desire to achieve!

Click Here todownload you free NYR planner.

Thank you for all of your support over 2016, have a very Happy New Year! May it be filled with lots of luaghter, amazing adventures and good health! Here’s to achieving all of our goals in 2017!

Be sure to go follow Contour Allure on twitter & Instagram to keep up to date with all the exciting things coming your way in 2017. @contourallure

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Christmas Fitness Games 

Just in case you haven’t heard, it’s December guys – which means the countdown to Christmas is on!

At this crazy busy time of year, when all you really want to do is cuddle up by the fire with a nice glass of wine and watch feelgood Christmas movies, it is no wonder that everything begins to feel a bit like a chore; including the gym. 

Eh wine, films and a relaxing evening is for the boring. Take on a challenge and have a good giggle instead!

Instead of caving, slacking on the hardwork you’ve put in all year and cancelling last minute on your trainer, take on one of the challenges below to get you in the spirit of working out and Christmas all at the same time! What a great combination right?! The best part is you can do these challenges with your friends and family. Sure beats the standard scrabble battles and will provide much more entertainment. 
Challenge number 1: Christmas

Put on Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas; assume the plank position; and hold. Each time you hear the word ‘Christmas’ do a press up before returning to plank position. The one who makes it to the end of the song without missing a press up or breaking form wins!

I will be taking on this challenge and posting the video to my Instagram:@contourallure if anybody fancies a laugh at my expense!

Challenge number 2: Santa

This one is intended for groups and you will need a ball.  

Put on Jackson 5 – Santa Clause is Coming to Town. This game is about speed, a bit like the hot potato game you want to  get rid of the ball as quickly as possible. Throw the ball to any member of your group, if you receive the ball when the word ‘Santa‘ comes up in the song, your penalty is 10 tuck jumps! It’s not as easy as it sounds, give it a go! 

Challenge number 3: A Christmas Story

This one is aimed at those with young children.

Take on the squat stance then ask your child to tell you a good story about Christmas – hold your position until the story is finished. Kids love to ramble! Mwahaha. 

If you want to make it a little harder, every time your child hesitates with an ‘uh or erm’ etc. do a squat before returning to hold the position. 

Italy | Milan

If you are a lover of Paris you need to visit Milan. Two cities currently fighting for my top spot.

Given that Napoleon built a highway connecting the two, it comes as no surprise that they bear a few similarities.

Both cities have monumental Arch’s and iconic streets and, Milan is like pretty like Paris but on a much grander scale.

I am a sucker for history and this city is just dripping in it. From walking down roads built by Napoleon to passing through old city walls. There is a piece of history standing boldly and beautifully around round every corner.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Horse

Beyond the Parisian similarities there are many unique characteristics to Milan including a castle which was used as the city’s protection before providing a home to the Lords of Milan; A palace that housed Napoleon on his stays; a 7ft sculpture of a horse by the Leonardo Da Vinci and, Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest, to name a few.

The Vertical Forest was actually one of my favourite sights. So unlike anything you have seen before, a great touch to dress up a skyscraper and the autumnal colours add an extra hint of elegance.

Unfortunately,  I didn’t get the chance to take my own photograph so I have borrowed this one.

 If history and sightseeing isn’t your thing, Milan still has plenty to offer.

Being regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan provides a stunning collection of luxury designer shops combined with some popular high street shops.

The shopping experience here is beyond our wildest dreams.

Not that we would expect anything to the contrary from the fashion capital of the world!

Having said that, I am a girl who loves to shop but shopping was the last thing on my mind.

Especially when we reached the Cathedral. A landmark which Milan is famous for and after seeing it with my own eyes, I can totally understand why.

Milan Cathedral

 

It quite literally takes your breath away.

Considering we told our tour guide that we weren’t too bothered about seeing the Cathedral (oops) and stumbled upon it by accident, I’m really glad we did!

There are just no pictures that could do this beautiful building any justice whatsoever, let alone capture the atmosphere.

I got a quick video snippet of the Cathedral surrounded by hundreds of people with musicians playing in the square – I will post it on my Instagram (@contourallure) so you can get and slight feel for the place.

One thing you should be aware of is the sheer volume of people here, even in comparison to London. It is extremely busy. So when lunch time rolls around, queues  for food are the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever seen! I mean they were so long it would probably be quicker to go home and cook a meal yourself! The food is delicious though so I can totally understand all the commotion that seemed to be going on in pretty much every eatery.

I love that the pizza slices are bigger than my head!

 

I truly enjoyed this city and I can’t wait to return. It definitely ranks highly on my list of places to recommend.

Well of course it does. Offering huge amounts of culture, shopping, food, history, unique little quirks and not to mention being totally picturesque – why wouldn’t you want to visit?

One of the many quirky little features lining the streets.

La Manga | First Impressions 

The Hotel Prince Felipe in La Manga most definitely has an essence of luxury and prestige. With marble floors, high ceilings and a vast array of beautiful artwork set within a palm tree lined golf course you certainly feel as though you’ve been transported to a mini paradise.

Prince Felipe Hotel Lobby – Wishing this was my living room!

The first day of any holiday usually flys by, as it certainly did for us. We spent the day relaxing and letting our minds and bodies rest, the weeks previous had consisted of awaiting the birth of my niece, a sick dog, work related stresses, preparing for an event the night before holiday, a last minute packing trip and a 6 hour journey down south instead of the 3 and a half journey it should have been. Im sure you will agree that it has been pretty hectic, so the downtime was very much welcomed.

Chris’ mum is here on a tennis training camp so we took a stroll up to the courts and watched that for a little while.

Whilst overcast the weather was still fairly warm and actually, did clear a little by the afternoon so we waited until early evening before heading to the gym. What happened to that relaxing down time hey! Well, Chris and I have never been good at sitting still for too long and the restlessness was starting to set in.

Spectacular view from our balcony – Overcast yet still stunning

We were pleasantly surprised by the facilities in the gym. It was very well equipped with up to date machines and a whole array of weights. In fact, the weight based areas took up much more spac than the cardio based areas. We were so impressed we almost forget it was actually a hotel gym!

On the assumption that probably 90% of the week ahead will be spent in a bikini, which body parts would you focus on? If you said legs & glutes then we have something in common! I was set for a big, heavy, confidence building leg & glutes session.

Chris had other ideas though and invited me to do a back session with him, an offer which I accepted and I am so glad I did. Like most girls, my upper body tends to get neglected. I do so love a good back session though and it was great! We didn’t necessarily go heavy, working at around 75% but we went hard. It was amazing. If you want to see a few snippets of the workout head over to my Instagram @contourallure

My food and water intake trough out the day had definitely not been enough to carry me through the leg workout I had planned. Huffing and puffing I just about made it to the end of the workout with Chris.

Post workout obviously the hunt for food was on. Heading to Los Lomos, an area just a tad further up the mountain, to Luigis Italian restaurant. Bearing in mind this was our second night of eating here, it was becoming apparent to me that the term ‘vegetarian’ meant zilch to the food establishments here. Thankfully, I do still eat fish or this week my diet would consist of carbs with a side of carbs! Tonight though, I opted for a vegetarian pizza with a side salad. Whilst delicious, it was not the most ideal meal but my options here are limited and it’s better to eat than not eat right?!

Off to Luigi’s…

S’nofun like Snow Fun!

To some, it may come as a shock to hear that there are many out there who live for the winter season. I used to think it was complete madness too, until I skied for the first time that is. Now, it totally makes sense. It’s the snow sports that are the attraction or I should say addiction. Those that have already experienced one snow sport or another already get it. To those who have never had the luxury of such experience as of yet, you simply have to get out and give it a go. Luckily, this does not involve an expensive trip to the Canadian Rockies or the Alps.

Right on our door step, here in the grand city of Manchester, we have the Chill Factore, home of the largest indoor ski slope in England complete with real snow. Yep, don’t know how they do it either but the only logical explanation is magic!

There are a number of snow activities you can get stuck in with at the Chill Factore, skiing, snowboarding, luging, sledging, airboarding and snowscoot to name a few. The only downside is that the main slope is only to be used by those that can already ski or snowboard, understandably so due to obvious health and safety reasons, as perfectly demonstrated in this clip.

Not to worry though, book a lesson or two, learn the basics – pizza slice and fries, I mean how hard can that be?! Complete the lessons and away you are!

Personally, I have been a regular attendee of the Chill Factore in the past (pre moving to Canada) but since being home I kind of forgot it was there and haven’t actually been until last Thursday.

The Chill Factore’s corporate events team invited us for a tour of their facilities & to showcase their Christmas party packages. Honestly, I accepted the invitation not really knowing what to expect but with a promise of food and access to the snow park it was a no brainer!

It ended up being myself and my favorite person in our offices attending the event so the night was already off to a fabulous start!

The mere mention of food played a big role in our attendance that evening but we were ready for a few butties and some crisps, imagine our surprise when we walked into the Eiger Room, which makes you feel like you’ve been transported into a winter wonderland, a top a mountain in far away lands where the snowmen sing,  there were snowboards on  a table with a full Christmas Dinner buffet laid upon (including some tasty vegetarian dishes), complete with slush puppies to drink and an amazing selection of Christmas deserts. it was so good we almost forgot that outside it was sunny, warm and September, heck we almost forgot the reason we were there in the first place!

underneath those scrumptious cakes is actually a snowboard
The room from Banff? Nope, the stunning Eiger Room at the Chill Factore!

The snow park. Ah the snow park. surprisingly, once you are stood in front of it is bigger than it first seemed!

Helpful hint: get your snow boots 2 sizes smaller than your normal shoe size! Those things are monstrous! 

After getting kitted up, protective head gear and all. We were lead to the slopes for free run of the snow park.

Ready to go! Not nervous atall and maybe a tad giddy!

 

Guys, when you get out there, don’t go crazy and follow the crowds, hang back for a moment and let them all run off, chances are they will all go to the same slope giving you clear access to the others! That’s efficiency right there!

We have all done sledging before on various bits and bobs we have been able to get our hands on, on the odd occasions we have been in snowy conditions so this activity was not top of our list. Especially given it was a pretty straight run. Thankfully, that was the first activity everyone headed to.

Naturally, my friend and I headed in the opposite direction. Well actually, I followed her and for some reason she led us straight to the luge, walking up those stairs I felt like I was walking to my death. We have all seen the “we are Jamaica we have a bob sleigh team” movie (Cool Runnings) so you can imagine how I felt staring down that tunnel of ice. Okay, okay, maybe this is a little dramatic, it is a minute run in comparison and it’s not quite a bob sleigh but more a body board that you lie on. Nonetheless, the luge is terrifying.. terrifying and one of the most fun experiences you’ve ever had whilst lying down!

Helpful hin: on the luge, keep your hands turned in or risk losing your knuckles. You have been warned! 

By this point, people had cottoned on to the ‘free roaming’ aspect and each activity was equally as busy as the next so we headed for the dohnut run.

If you haven’t already drawn the conclusion that I am a bit of a wimp, let me tell you that I am a bit of a wimp! The dohnut run has 2 tracks, a smooth and a bumpy. Of course, we took to the smooth first. Gotta suss these things out before you throw yourself down a bumpy track right?! Good job really, given that the next time up the only option was the bumpy track, where the  guy overseeing the safe operation suggested that we take a running jump down the track, which we did and we regretted.. until we got to the bottom and ran straight back up to do it again. Only this time, the ‘safety guy’ pushed us down backwards! Yeah that one, way more terrifying than any of the other. Genuinely thought we were going to take off, legs were flying everywhere! Not even being dramatic for once.

There is so much fun to be had on this big-little snow park and it is definitely worth the visit. If you’re a little nervous or fancy changing things up a bit, chat to the ‘safety guys’ they are full of good ideas! 

If you want a bit of a sneak preview, I have uploaded a video or 2 to my instagram (@contourallure).

For an even better time, get some pre-agreed forfeits ready for the losers of the races! Take it from me, trying to plan some at the top of a slope is just too much pressure!

Oh also, if you go to the Christmas party here you get access to the snow park too! There are changing rooms so you can get pretty again afterwards but honestly, who cares about being pretty when you can be racing down slopes! Hands down beats any other Christmas party. Can’t wait to get the friends on board and hey if you wanna join, it’s a shared do so why not?! Call the Chill Factore and speak to Jen or Lori in the corporate events department.

But even if you’re not feeling getting in on our Christmas shindig make sure you still get down and experience this place! Further details of events, times and prices can be found Here.

Have Fun!!