Ah, Christmas: the time of over-indulgence. But for the under-prepared it also offers a chance to improve stamina and weight-lifting ability and elevate the heart rate…which all have to be good things, right?
What’s more, this simple exercise programme can be squeezed into your lunch break. Ok, it has to be squeezed into your lunch break, because when the hell else are things going to happen?
Step 1: Hit the High Street
You have one hour to make multiple purchases. On an ordinary day this would be no problem – you’d even have time for a latte/flirt with the nice barista with the twinkly eyes. But this is not a normal day. If Hell is other people then the gates are right here on your high street.
They say the high street is dead? If people don’t get the fuck out of your way a lot of the people on it could well be.
Using key coordination skills and engaging major muscle groups, dodge all the slow idiots who don’t realise what a rush you’re in, building your pace as you go. Remember to breathe: in through the nose, out through the mouth with under-the-breath expletives.
Step 2: The Price-Hike Heart Rate Increase
Hang on a minute. That Elsa doll*/games console/bottle of perfume was half the price last week. And you know it’ll be reduced by 70% by Boxing Day.
But you can also sense that mad-eyed woman still wearing her slippers is after the very same item. You can feel her breath down your neck. She’s prepared to take you down if you don’t decide within the next 30 seconds.
You may as well place yourself under a burning spotlight in front of a studio audience, ominous music underscoring your emotions. Except you can’t phone a friend. Your heart could well explode at any second. Gah!
*Elsa doll? Who are you kidding?! They sold out weeks ago! You may as well waste your lunch hour looking for unicorn tears. And no, your own tears don’t count.
Step 3: Carry Half Your Body Weight in Gift Purchases
Concerned about muscle strain/leg bruising/flesh wounds to the fingers as those over-stuffed carrier bags weigh you down and crash about your legs, sharp corners of boxes tearing through both the bags and the top layer of your skin? Suck it up! No pain no gain!
Step 4: Running in Heels
Your lunch hour is almost over, there’s five minutes until your boss’ Spidey senses will be twitching at your tardiness. But you’re the wrong end of the precinct. Time to leg it for all your worth, taking out any and all OAPs, ditherers and carolling buskers in your wake.
On the plus side, running in heels burns more calories than running in trainers. Fact! (Unless you trip over a toddler and break an ankle.)
Step 5: And Stttttrrrrrrretttttccchhhhh
Last-minute Secret Santa gift amongst your purchases?
Then use your cool down to wrap said gift. Single-handedly contort your body to hold down curling paper whilst fixing the stationery cupboard door shut with your foot. Realise you don’t have scissors/sellotape/that you need to answer the goddamn phone thus increasing the exercise to a minimum of 25 reps and multiple swear words.
Step 6: Unusual Bruising
Ah, yes, that’ll be from you kicking yourself for not doing the whole thing online with a company who offers gift-wrapping services.
You’ve had NO time for lunch, resulting in you NOT purchasing the 560 calorie M&S Turkey Feast sandwich and 135 calorie Festive Brownie Bites. Now all you have to do is stay away from all the boxes of biscuits and chocolates kindly gifted by grateful clients/feeder colleagues who want to look skinnier than you in the Christmas party Facebook pics. Oh. Too late.
The Advanced Programme
For extreme endurance repeat said Steps but change the setting from the office to the home and include a nosy child released from school for the holidays and an errant toddler. The toddler also offers additional weight-training as he/she will refuse to go in the buggy on the trip into town, but will require carrying the second you’ve made your purchases. And, no, your older child will NOT help carry any of the shopping as it all needs to remain a firm secret. Once home, multiply both amount of presents that need urgent wrapping AND scale and frequency of interruptions. Not for the faint-hearted.
Follow this programme and you’re guaranteed to lose pounds. But only in the UK, otherwise you’ll lose dollars/yen/euros…probably because you’ve left your purse in the last shop and the Christmas temp assistant is about to go to town with your bank account.
Ok, so you still don’t fit into your party outfit without the judicial application of multiple Spanx options, but the drained, windswept look is so this season. Or at least you tell yourself that. Just avoid Facebook for a bit after the Christmas party.
Good luck! May Santa be with you!