As this is me (Tom) writing this, you may be thinking this is going to be another drill sergeant speech telling you how you’ll need to trim the fat off your turkey, stick to Brussels sprouts, and steer well away from any Christmas pudding.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
I love Christmas, and I think if you HAVE to work out during Christmas and New Year it shouldn’t really be essential unless you’re training for something (competition etc) or have been advised to put this into your regime.
Regardless of it being December or not, there are 4 weeks to a month and at least 16 workouts to get in, lots of people have the same amount of time out or socials any other month so why BIN December off?
It really depends on where you’re at in your journey.
Have you had an excellent year where you’ve eaten consistently well, trained hard regularly and maintained a healthy body composition? If so, go ahead, enjoy yourself and live a little!
But what if you’ve had a bad year, had a plan but not followed it religiously, eaten terribly and barely moved?
Maybe you’ve just started training now? then you might need to be more consistent to keep the Motivation high.
The difference between what someone can get away with when they’re lean, versus being out of shape is massive.
That’s why if you fall in the latter group, following some of these tips will help keep you on track during the festive period, whilst you can still have some fun during the festive period.
- Stay Hydrated
This is something you need to do all year round, but around the festive period it’s a lot more crucial.
Drinking water helps with the after effects of Alcohol and gets rid of cravings.
If you’ve got a really heavy night ahead of you, drink plenty of water before (staying Hydrated) and try and drink water throughout the evening (As my mum would say “Glass of tap water after every drink”) she wasn’t wrong!
- Don’t Skip Meals
Not eating prior to going out is always a bad idea, if you don’t eat during the day you’ll probably get drunk a lot faster, make bad decisions with food and it’ll lead to bingeing.
Before going out eat a protein dense meal or Shake with some nuts, this will stabilise your blood sugar and stop cravings
- Liquid Calories (watch them)
Given the number of festive drinks and opportunities you’ll have over the festive period its good to get an understanding of the drinks you’re consuming, being wise and remembering too many nights of heavy drinking can undo a lot of the hard work in the week you’ve put in eating and training etc.
Avoid too many mixers and Beers, stick to clean spirits or quality red wine.
- Festive Food Intake
It’s one thing eating a little too much Christmas Cake, Pigs in Blankets and roast potato’s, but another if you’re following it up with a trip to KFC.
The key with this time of year is to set realistic dietary goals.
Unless you have an impending competition, photoshoot or goal deadline in January, totally restraining yourself from some treats will only lead to you cracking and inevitably bingeing.
A good tactic is to select the treats wisely, and pick foods only available in the holiday season, not readily available all the time.
Of course, you still have to exercise a little portion control….
- Train Hard
No matter how busy you may become over the festive period, you absolutely must make training one of your top priorities, there’s no need to take a month off, you’re not too busy or too tired, you can still do your regime, bonus is that the gyms are notoriously quiet so you’ll get a better workout in anyway!
Training hard will keep you insulin sensitive, burn a load of calories and keep your metabolism ticking.
While it may not be the time to set any major goals or big gym changes, plan on doing something active every day even if it’s only for 30 minutes.
This could be some hill sprints, a bodyweight circuit at home, or even just a fast-paced walk. It doesn’t have to be limited to the gym – the key is that it’s done.
Here’s a Bodyweight Home workout you can try:
Repeat each exercise back to back for 10 reps, at the end rest 30 seconds then do 9 of each, repeating till you get to 1
If you are in the gym, a good strategy for the Christmas period is to focus on doing higher reps, with a full range of motion, and accumulating as much blood flow as possible.
Heres a quick weights cicuit you can try:
Close Grip Pulldown
Standing Dumbell Press
Plate loaded Row
Barbell Bench Press
First of all, aim for 20 reps of each per exercise, failing at 20 if possible or close, then 10 of each then heaviest weight at 5 reps per exercise.
To sum up, how you approach the festive season really depends on your goals and where you’re at right now.
The key is to do what makes you happy. Following these tips will help strike a balance between your fitness journey, and enjoying yourself with a little Christmas indulgence.
Have a lovely Christmas everyone…..
Tom – Impact Personal Trainer