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Limit the damage over the festive period and ensure your first post-Christmas workout feels like you’d never left.

It’s that time of year again when everyone feels like all the hard work they've put in throughout the year to get to where they are now; goes out of the window within a short 2 week window over Christmas. 
The festive period includes a range of opportunities to discard your workouts in favour of activities such as Christmas drinks, Christmas parties, catching up with friends, eating too much and then feeling sluggish and any other number of activities. 
Let’s be clear, we’re not suggesting you blow off those plans in favour of a workout. Christmas should be a time enjoyed with family and friends, so if you are worried about undoing all your hard work, try to incorporate some of the tips below to help you strike a good balance between enjoying time with family, friends and still working towards your fitness goals.

  1. Keep your activity levels or NEAT up. 
    Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT is essentially everything you do day to day away from your workouts, so walking to and from work, any DIY, gardening etc. With Christmas generally being a time where we typically don’t move much and stay horizontal for a lot of the time, try to ensure you keep yourself moving. We’re the first ones to be grabbing a blanket and watching Home Alone 2 but try to increase your activity levels before long periods of inactivity. Encourage the family or meet friends to get out for long walks along the seafront or into the countryside. You can’t beat crisp winter walks followed by sitting down by a fire. Not only will this be great for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. 


  2. Balance your mince pie count.
    Strike the right balance between nutritionally dense food and the celebration chocolates. It is inevitable that most of us will be indulging in a little more sweet treats than we normally would, as they seem to be everywhere you look over Christmas. You should never look to ban any food completely, this will only likely lead to a binge when you can’t resist the craving any longer which will be more detrimental to your goals than incorporating the chocolates into your diet regularly. A good guide would be to try and incorporate an 80:20 split with nutrient dense food and “junk”. For the big event we look forward to all year, fill your plate with plenty of green veggies, these are full of nutrients and low calorie. Don’t forget to still enjoy the staple roast potatoes, pigs in blankets etc! Just be mindful that they are a lot more calorie dense. If you’re still doing the rounds after Christmas day make sure you add a little bit of that token salad to your plate at your Aunty June’s.


  3. Stay Hydrated.
    No, Bucks Fizz doesn’t count. Staying hydrated is a key tool to allow you to keep control. Around 70% of our body is water and dehydration is the main cause of the dreaded hangovers. Mixing dehydration with gorging on every snack in the house will lead to you feeling sluggish and not keen on moving much. Aim for between 2-4 litres of water each day and a glass between each alcoholic beverage if possible, who are we kidding, make that every second drink. When you feel hungry, it may also just be that you are dehydrated; so try having a glass of water and waiting for 30 minutes to see if you are still hungry before eating.


  4. Be smart with your alcoholic beverages. 
    Alcohol is, unfortunately, empty calories which means they have no nutritional value. However, some are less calorific than others so being smart about your choices can help keep the calories down. Just 1 pint of beer can be anywhere between 150-250kcal. This may not seem a lot but will certainly add up over the week. Spirits with a low kcal mixer or prosecco are your go to drink if you want to keep calorie consumption down! They can vary between 80-130 kcal each.


  5. Avoid snacking and prepare mindfully. 
    If you know you are going to be having a big Christmas dinner or meal with friends with a few celebratory drinks; account for this in whatever way works for you. Ensure you get a workout in, plan you rest days carefully or reduce the volume of some of your meals around that time. It’s quite easy to keep your protein consistent with meat and nuts readily available. Protein helps to support your goals, keep you a little fuller for a little longer (less chance of snacking) and help keep your gains. Lowering your carbohydrate and fat intake in some of your other meals will help lower the calories and allow you to have more in the “bank” for the big Christmas dinner and drinks. 


  6. Come and pay us a visit - 30mins is all you need.
    Let’s be honest, everyone needs a break from time to time after a melting pot of family personalities crashing together like someone dropping the weight stack in the gym. For the first time ever, we aren’t shut for the entire Christmas period, so you can continue working out in the gym, taking a dip in the pool, trying out our fitness classes, and scaling the climbing wall. 

    If you don’t want to keep going with your usual routine - jump into a fitness class. Why you ask? There is always an instructor there (be it in person or virtually), they tell you what to do (no thinking or planning, just moving) and they start from 30mins (great for a short workout in the morning before visiting Uncle Brian). We have listed all of our opening times on our Finding us and travel page.

In summary, Christmas is a time to be enjoyed and you certainly don’t want to spend the festive period worrying too much about what you are going to eat and drink. We can however implement a few of the tips above to help damage limitation and ensure we are still in a good place come 2023. Make sure you enjoy some well deserved time off with the people closest to you and don’t feel guilty. Rest and recovery is just as important as your training regime.

If you would like any advice in the new year to help push your training to the next level, do not hesitate to book a consultation with a members of our health and fitness team.