It’s the most wonderful time of the year yet again for Trinis – Carnival time. With all the blue mud, glitter and punchy punch shots right around the corner, now is a critical pre-Carnival prep time for masqueraders and J’ouvert lovers.
So, how can you use this final stretch to make sure you have the best possible Carnival 2014?
1. Stop comparing
There’s no question that there is excessive pressure on any and everyone playing mas to look flawless. Countless hours are spent in the gym, hundreds of calories are eliminated from diets each day, and thousands of dollars are spent on all of those crucial Carnival accessories, ranging from bejewelled boots to false eyelashes, professional make-up, and more.
And why do we go to all this effort? Because we all feel the need to look just as good as, or better, than everyone else. You have to have the tightest abs, the most golden tan, the most glamorous costume. For what? Won’t you have a good time either way?
My advice to you: stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Stop comparing yourself to your old pictures when you hit the gym every day for six months and had ‘your best body ever’. Just… stop. No one cares about how you look as much as you do. So, relax and no matter your weight, complexion, etc., etc., just remind yourself that people care about their own appearance way more than they care about yours – so chill out and forget all the superficial nonsense. Just enjoy Carnival for what it is: a two-day all-out extravaganza to have the absolute time of your life!
2. Don’t eat less – drink more!
OK, that was a trick subheading. I don’t mean drink more alcohol; I mean instead of depriving yourself of the fuel your body needs for all that palancing and wining on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, make sure to keep eating at least three meals a day and supplement your diet by drinking metabolism-boosting juices and teas.
Depriving yourself of food could actually be seriously damaging your metabolism by putting your body into starvation mode. So, keep eating (healthily, obviously – not chowing down on take-away or fast food) and try drinking fresh squeezed grapefruit juice or decaffeinated green tea a few times a day. Grapefruit juice and green tea are clinically proven to boost your metabolism and promote weight loss – plus they’re both really good for your general health as well! So you’ll be able to chip down the road looking healthy and energised rather than totally drunk and half-dead because your body isn’t getting the necessary fuel or nourishment.
Lots of people in the full swing of pre-Carnival-fitness-mania are so focused on weight loss or toning that their workouts can become a little unbalanced. When warming up and cooling down, it’s essential to take the time to stretch. Otherwise you could cause serious damage to your muscles and joints.
Stretching all of the muscles you intend to work for 15–30 seconds at a time during your warm up is usually recommended before your workout; and stretching all the muscles you worked for 30 seconds to one minute is recommended during your cool down. This will significantly lessen your chance of injury and will give you longer, leaner, healthier muscles – plus you’ll be more limber for any acrobatic wining you plan on doing on Monday and Tuesday. Everybody wins.
4. Take some quiet time
Much like Christmas time, the Carnival season can leave lots of us feeling stressed, frazzled or overwhelmed. Trying to keep up with all that fêting, intense workouts and your usual daily responsibilities can definitely be a challenge.
To make sure you can enjoy J’ouvert or Pretty Mas to the fullest without pulling your hair out, remember to take a little rest from all the heavy drinking and partying every now and again. Just taking a weekend off can do wonders for rejuvenating you, and even taking 15 minutes every few days to quietly sit with your eyes closed and just breathe can have brilliant effects both mentally and physically. That way, you’ll be your most stress-free, revitalised self when Carnival rolls around.
Hopefully, you’ll take at least one of these tips on board in time for Carnival 2014, but if not, they stand to benefit you all year round anyway… plus, there’s always next year!