Avoiding the festive ‘blow-out’
Now that we are on the verge of the ‘festive season’, we need to ensure that we get through this time of the year without compromising our health and fitness goals, or reversing the results achieved over the course of the last few months.
The Christmas/new year period represents a significant threat to our health and fitness goals as we get out of our normal routine, attend various parties/functions and get in ‘holiday mode’.
Unfortunately there is a price to be paid for getting into poor habits and not maintaining a balance between the increased social activity and exercise. This can be extra unwanted kilos, reduced fitness, and decreased energy/mental well being associated with the first two changes.
With the right mindset and planning you can enjoy a little extra partying without sacrificing your health and fitness.
Let’s look at some of the common ‘irrational logic’ of people heading into this period which can lead to poor health outcomes and the arguments against them.
Extra partying equals extra calories, which in the absence of a ‘reasonable exercise’ program will result in extra unwanted kilograms. The extra partying makes exercising more important to control weight and maintain fitness. Maintaining some balance is crucial. It takes a long time to lose that extra weight.
If you are on holidays you have more time then ever to exercise and still have more than enough time to relax or do whatever you normally do when on holidays. Maintaining exercise will enhance your holiday and make sure you don’t sacrifice your health and fitness. You won’t even have to get up as early to do it!
Firstly ask yourself is it worth spending that much on Christmas if it means your health and fitness has to suffer? I think not. Further you can look at more economical ways of continuing training and coping with the ‘Christmas spend” such as looking at economical training options such as group training sessions at your gym or even sessions at home using body weight, resistance bands, or free weights, and ‘no cost’ exercise sessions such as cycling, jogging, swimming, or power walking. Line up times with friends to make it social.
Gyms like Elite PTSC has a crèche operating Monday - Friday 9-11am. This should provide plenty of opportunity to train. Otherwise organise a time where a partner, husband or family member can watch
the kids for an hour so you can get a session done. You need only 20-30 minutes to get something productive done or even include the kids in the workout i.e. they cycle while you run next to them.
You don’t need a gym to walk, jog or swim. A trainer can do a program for you to do anywhere. As previously mentioned, body weight sessions are very effective, or those using resistance bands which take up next to no room in your luggage. It will enhance your holiday and reduce the amount you have to ‘work off’ when you get back to reality.
If you have just trained and done the Hawaiian ironman you probably do need a break from training. If not then you are probably like the rest of the population and closer to doing the minimum amount of daily exercise already and any further reduction would be of no real benefit, in fact would be to your detriment. Try a different routine and a different training plan.
Not likely. Accountability to someone is very important at this time of year as things can go pear-shaped very easily. Join up with friends, family, or do group sessions at you gym to keep things ticking over
Further tips to avoid the festive blow out
Set a revised training plan specifically for the December-January period that takes into account where you are and what you have access to. See a trainer to get a holiday program done.
Set weekly goals that takes into account your functions/parties.
The more you party the more important it is to do some exercise and eat well in between
Get back to a normal exercise routine as quickly as possible after coming back from holidays don’t put it off.
Be sensible with food choices, remember Christmas day is one day not a month. Eat well when not at gatherings. If you have a ‘blow-out’ day, make the next day a good one. Enjoying some of the offerings of Christmas is not the major issue, putting back to back to back bad days is the issue. Get back on the horse quickly.
Try to incorporate lower calorie alcoholic beverages if you must drink such as vodka, fresh lime, and soda water, do not mix spirits with sugary beverages such as coca cola etc. Avoid ciders and other high carb drinks. Check the sugar content. Mid strength beer is lower calorie than full strength.
If drinking more than usual don’t compound it by eating high sugar, high fat foods. Stick to lean proteins and veggies such as fish and salad, or red meat and vegetables (avoid mash potatoes restaurants), reduce breads, pastas, rice, particularly when consuming alcohol.
By Elite PT Cronulla
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