It’s that time of year again, folks; time to stick the turkey in the oven, crack out the family boardgame box, and raise a glass to the year’s just past. Switching from our usual, routine lives to the ‘Xmas Spirit’ is a great opportunity to wind down, relax and indulge ourselves to reset the system.
However, the weeks either side the Birth of Baby J has the potential to de-rail your hard work from the rest of the year, what with the copious amounts of rich food and booze, so here is a whistle-stop tour on how to stay healthy over Xmas…
A VERY MERRY MENTALITY
As December approaches, many people tend to adopt something I like to call a Very Merry Mentality. This is the person who adopts a healthier lifestyle in summer and makes great progress over 6 months, only to revert to all-out indulgence for two weeks. All that hard-work up the spout…
Advocates of AVMM are by no means the anomaly as so many people tend to take the Xmas period as a 2 week blackspot in terms of their diet and training. Even, god-forbid, some of your trainers and coaches…
And who can blame you? Most people work their socks off all-year-round, and more than earn a wee bit of indulgence once a year. The main thing to be careful of is when you slip into the progress-stunting world of OVER-indulgence…
Everyone seems to go black or white when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle; either you eat a crap diet and never exercise, or you crack out 3 spin classes, 2 runs and a weight training session whilst living of lettuce and boiled chicken.
As my Mum always says, there is a definitely happy medium. Improving your physical health in a sustainable way does not mean completely restricting yourself from the foods you love. Focus on whole, healthy foods for 80% of the time, and the other 20% of the time you can treat yourself to your vices (The 80/20 Rule).
This is an effective strategy to apply to your lifestyle over the Xmas; accept that it is okay to have a glass of champers at the work Xmas Party, and that you will not get fat by having a couple of roasties with Xmas dinner!
Nothing will de-rail your progress if you learn to moderate!
HIGH QUALITY H2O
Water is going to be your best friend over the next month!
Whether it’d be curing the hangover, moderating the alcohol intake, or suppressing the appetite, sipping Adam’s Ale at regular intervals throughout the day will help keep you healthy and hydrated in the midst of the festivities…
If you are heading off to a family friend’s for a Xmas Boozer, make sure you alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water. Not only will this automatically help you to moderate your alcohol intake, but it will also offset the dehydration that often comes about with nibbles like olives, nuts and bowls of crisps doing the rounds.
And, if you are wanting to last the distance on a big night out in town, this 1:1 alcohol to water ratio will be the key…
SEASONAL SNACKING STRATEGIES
Before leaving the house for a party, have a piece of fruit or a quick bowl of wholegrain cereal to help keep you satisfied, meaning that you aren’t going to be starving when your parents crack open the mince pies…
Having a meal high in complex carbohdydrates, fibre and lean protein a couple of hours before you hit the bars will also help soak up the (probably copious) amounts of alcohol consumed. If you become strategic with your nutrition, you might save yourself an embarasing escapade after a few beverages in the system…
ADAPT YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE
Don’t be that guy who pies his friends and family off in the holy name of Gainz…
Staying on-track to achieving your long-term health and fitness goals does not mean cancelling social occasions over Xmas to hit the gym. No-one likes a Health Grinch!
Instead, try developing a quick 15 minute home-workout routine which you can crack out in the comfort of your own home. For these, focus on compound bodyweight movements like lunges, squat jumps and press-ups to get the most bang for your buck and keep that metabolism raised throughout the day. Try and do these at convenient times that do not interfere with whatever socials are going on!
Getting the whole family up and moving over Xmas is a great way to keep active. Whether it’d be going for a long dog-walk, or taking the kids skating down at the local ice-rink, there are so many ways to get the family involved.
A FESTIVE FINAL WORD
One thing I cannot stress enough : Xmas IS NOT the time for a strict diet and exercise regime. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs some downtime at Xmas, so do not spend the holidays constantly feeling guilty when you haven’t been able to hit the gym 5 times a week!
Remember that no single food or drink is going to de-rail your progress; master the art of self-control and moderation, and you can enjoy yourself and indulge without impacting upon your hard-earned progress.
If you want any further tips, take a look at the infographic below, or contact me via email : firstname.lastname@example.org