6 things to give up for lent to boost your health


What are you giving up?

We’re a few days through lent, and many of you will be trying to give stuff up. But if, like us, you are a bit late to the pre-easter party, you might be wondering what not to do for lent.

More to the point, what can you give up that will improve your fitness?

Stuck? Don’t worry, we’ve got 6 things to give up, to help you get in shape.

1. Chocolate


Pretty damn tasty

Why: Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Chocolate bars, hot chocolate, chocolate drops…we could continue. Chocolate is lovely, and dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. But it is also very calorific. Lots of sugar, a fair bit of fat. It can lead to calorie intake excess, which can lead to weight gain, and more importantly an increase in body fat.

How: The first thing to do is swap chocolate for fruit. Yes there is still plenty of sugar in fruit, but it is natural sugar and fruit is full of goodness. Just don’t go overboard. The second thing you can do is make a flavour change and go for chocolate whey protein powder, so you still get your hit!

2. Alcohol


Image source: CoachCox
Not the best drink for recovery…

Why: Yet more empty calories (though many do say Guinness is full of goodness). But nutritional tables aside, alcohol can hinder you from performing at optimum levels. Can you imagine benching after 6 pints? Combine all that with the obvious costs of drinking, and you have a strong case for sacking it off.

How: If we could give a concrete answer on how to stop drinking, we’d be saving many from tragedy, bankruptcy and more. But we can’t. What we can do is offer some more reasons. For lent, you will have to go cold turkey, so to justify it, think of the money! Yes you might have to stay in when your mates are out, but that extra money could mean new gym equipment or extra supplements. And that extra time at home could be spent finding a decent protein sale online!

Tasty products that aren’t naughty

3. Swearing


Bugger off!

Why: I bloody love swearing. And I won’t be giving it up. But if you are an effer and a blinder, you could well be conveying yourself as an unapproachable gym goer. Would you approach someone for advice if they used the F word and, god forbid, the C word every other word? No. By not swearing, you have a better chance of making friends, and friends = gym partners. They can be very valuable…

How: You don’t have to talk like a member of the renaissance elite, in which case you could well be speaking French anyway! No, but do think about what you say. Talk slower, spend a bit of time constructing sentences and give yourself a friendly “I can be your new gym-friend” tone.

4. Gambling


Craps is crap!

Why: How many gamblers are up overall? A few, but not many. So aside from the obvious financial benefits of not gambling, there a few side perks. Namely, less time worrying on a Saturday as you are clutching to your betting slip, shouting at the TV as Jeff Stelling tells you Doncaster have got a last minute equaliser vs MK Dons, thus scuppering your chances to a famous ten fold accumulator. Use this extra focus to smash PBs, work out better meal plans and learn about nutrition.

How: Like alcohol, this is tough one. But if you are looking to stop just for lent, it can be done. You can cancel your online accounts, you can self bar yourself from the local bookies and set yourself a ridiculous punishment for gambling. Such as for every £1 you spend on gambling, you have to run 10 miles.

5. Fast food


Image source: Inner Kitchen
IIFYM? Nahhh

Why: KFC, McDonald’s, your local kebab house? Wherever you go, the chances are you are getting good that is very high in bad fats and full of salt. The meat quality is likely poor, meaning less protein and more filler, and the cost of these meals is more than if you cooked yourself. So save money, eat healthier and give up junk food. With the RIGHT fats, good sources of protein and better nutrients you’ll see gains in no time.

How: Education is the best place to start. Look at the drawbacks of eating deep fried, high in salt treats, then turn things around. Many think that it can be pricey to eat well, but here is how to eat healthily on a budget.

6. Netflix


Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Turn that thumb…upside down

Why: Yes you might want to watch the latest episode of Better Call Saul but he doesn’t care about your health. If you were to watch 3 x 50 minute episodes of an American drama, then the likelihood is you are going to have to miss out on something. This could be a full night’s sleep, could be a workout or it could be a proper meal. All of these things combined could hinder your health and fitness, so whatever streaming service you use, why not cancel it for lent and improve your general fitness.

How: Just cancel your account. They won’t like it, and will probably offer you a deal to come back. And when lent is over, if you haven’t felt the benefit, why not take that deal? You can use the money you have saved on supplements, food or your gym membership!

Or don’t give up anything…

If the idea of New Year’s resolutions, lent or any other period where you have to give stuff up makes you laugh, then un-read everything you have just laid eyes on. After all, if you spend loads of time trying to give something up, couldn’t you have done something else? Then again, we hope you found these ideas healthy, and let us know how you get on!

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