The New Year sometimes kicks off with lofty ideals and dramatic health goals that aren’t sustainable long-term. Which is why we believe in small shifts, made consistently over time as a better metric for success. Where better to go for inspiration here than the team at The Newport?
An alfresco dining destination on stunning Pittwater, The Newport is where we escape to when we need some fresh air. So we talked to yoga instructor Laura Gonzales of Newport’s Modern Movement and bar manager Ben Wainwright about getting back on track for the New Year. You can think of it as a new leaf – just not the rabbit food kind.
1. Build movement into your everyday
Whether it’s a surf before your morning coffee at Coogee Pavilion, a lunchtime dip at Pool Club, or a quick game of basketball at The Vic on the Park, our secret to exercise success is building it into your everyday. An even better idea is incorporating exercise into your everyday social calendar – like with Sunday morning yoga at The Newport.
Laura Gonzales is a yoga instructor from Modern Movement and Open Motion, who leads the Sunday summer classes from 8am. “Find the motivation behind your health practices and then make the approach realistic,” she suggests. “If you don’t enjoy the process, then you’re not going to stick with it.”
2. Rehydrate (even just a little)
Between a crammed social calendar and a few too many champers, the party season is usually when hydration falls by the wayside. Fortunately, The Newport has got you covered with simple solutions to rehydrate right. You could win some brownie points as designated driver with “Bert’s range of elegant, non-alcoholic cocktails,” says bar manager Ben Wainwright.
Then if you like a little balance in life, there are also lower alcohol cocktails to give you the best of both worlds. Ben recommends The Newport’s Retox cocktail here, which contains fresh pressed apple and carrot juice, along with anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and cayenne pepper.
3. Quit the guilt trip
Laura says that guilt can be the biggest enemy of health success and recommends moving away from this mindset where possible. “You have to be patient and take baby steps,” she says. “If you are too strict with yourself, then your goals end up being harder to follow and they become unrealistic.”
A better approach, she says, is to shift your focus to consistency. “I always tell people that frequency is more important than duration. Sometimes we get hung up on the idea that you have to do an hour of exercise at a time, but the things we do more often have a bigger impact than those we only do once in a while.”
4. Choose healthy meals that don’t taste like rabbit food
Gung-ho diets might seem like a good idea in the early days of January – but in practice the yo-yo approach often isn’t so sustainable over the long-term. Instead of total restriction, then, Ben recommends gradually incorporating healthy ingredients into your everyday.
This might come in the form of a whole roasted fish from Totti’s, the heirloom carrots at Hotel Centennial or some fresh sashimi from sushi e. Take Laura’s consistency advice here and set yourself up for success with healthier menu options that actually taste good. Some of our fail-safe options are the green bowls at The Collaroy or grilled seafood at Bert’s.
5. When in doubt, breathe (you’re doing it already)
“Breathing is everything,” says Laura. Which is why she teaches Vinyasa at The Newport – a style of yoga that’s all about flowing with your breath. “Simple breathing helps you regulate the nervous system and move out of stress and anxiety,” she explains. “It helps you to rest, recover, and repair after the busy social season.”
In particular, Laura recommends getting outside to breathe the fresh air. “I think it’s really good to connect with the environment, like with yoga on the deck or spending more time in nature,” she says. “We live in such a beautiful place and it’s important to appreciate that. It also has a very grounding effect, which helps us hit reset for the year ahead.”