As you read this, the festive season should be progressing well with the alcohol flowing and food available in abundance.

Many of you may have forgotten about those extra calories or it may be that your subconscious is nagging you into feeling guilty about tucking into all the food and drink that surrounds you.

Well, I want to reassure you about your indulgence and the coming New Year.

For those of you who exercise already, it is always a good idea to not stop training completely but aim to fit a couple of exercise sessions in between Christmas and New Year's Day - a definite way to make yourself feel virtuous in the coming year.

If you have always used the New Year to set yourself some new targets or promised this year will be the year to lose weight and become fitter, think about it carefully.

You must remember some important points that may help in you finally fulfilling this New Year's resolution:

Christmas and the New Year are extreme times of the year - a time when you will eat and drink more. So don't feel too guilty, just remember that, come January 2, the new regime starts with a change in lifestyle and not only a reduction in calories but the addition of a bit of exercise.

Don't kid yourself: Losing weight, becoming fitter or changing your body shape can be hard and will mean sticking to a change-able exercise routine that will both push you and make positive adaptations to your body.

There will be days when you will feel as if exercise is the last thing on earth you want to do but remember, we all feel like that from professional athletes to recreational exercisers to fitness professionals, you are not alone. Prioritise your exercise, set regular times and stick to it. This is your time so use it to make yourself feel good, the benefits of feeling and looking great cannot be squashed into this small column.

Never think ten, 20 or 30 minutes is too short for an exercise session. Sixty minutes has never been a magic number in terms of exercise, quality and precision is the key. Much gym time is lost in drawn-out programmes: You may find you can fit in training you thought was not possible because you have always allowed an hour or hour and half.

Start exercising from next Thursday, take that initial step and keep on stepping, do not lose the will to make that change.

Top Tip: I hope many of you take that first step to make a change and make 2003 your year for feeling great and looking great. I wish you an active New Year.

Article by Paul Simmons, ... Call Paul at Frontier Personal Training for a free consultation on 07970 686054 or 01273 5959539.