It’s a familiar story we hear year on year. You spend all year working hard to get in prime physical shape only for the Christmas period to come along and derail you. This leads to countless New Year Resolutions trying to reverse the damage of an excessive week or in some cases month. Here are our top tips for surviving the Xmas period with your gains but still allowing yourself to enjoy the festivities. Don’t worry you wont have to lock yourself away upstairs with just salad and water.
The first thing we seem to lose sight of at Christmas is portion control. So fill your plate with protein and vegetables first. Try to avoid overeating at each meal and only eat until you feel satisfied. Most people get excited all year about the thought of a large roast turkey dinner and thats fine, enjoy it. But then try to manage the meals around the main event. You don’t need to have a large breakfast as well. Have a high fat and protein breakfast of eggs and smoked salmon to keep you full until lunch. Split your daily calories so that you can indulge at lunch guilt free.
The house will also no doubt be full of countless other naughty treats. Again exercise portion control and restraint. Take a set portion of Quality Street and stick to that amount. So take maybe a handful from the tin to enjoy on Xmas day but then leave the tin well away and only eat what you have. It’s too easy to have an open tin next to you and before you know it the whole tin is gone during the Queens speech.
Alongside excessive food Christmas is also a prime opportunity for excessive alcohol. Again it is important to exercise portion control to ensure we guard against unnecessary weight gain. Alcoholic drinks are calorie laden and our body will prioritise the breakdown of alcohol ahead of food leading to an increase in fat storage. Aim to drink a pint of water in between each alcoholic drink to ensure you stay hydrated and to ensure you are drinking at a steady pace. Drinking a large amount of alcohol will also lead to making poor food choices throughout the day.
Exercise is the first thing to get wiped from your agenda over the Xmas period, but try to enjoy your rest days. It will be a good opportunity for your body to recover and gear itself up to hit January hard. However, try to stay as active as possible with your daily activities. Go for a long walk with the family, spend as much time playing with the new toys as the children and try not to stay slumped on the sofa for too long. By increasing your daily activity levels you will be surprised how many calories you can burn. Aim to use your free time in between Christmas and New Year to enjoy the gym before all the January crowd come in. Try not to let the rest days over the Christmas period spill over into a week long hiatus.
Try adding some fasted cardio on the 24th and 25th of December to aid your waist line. Simply wake up 40 minutes earlier stick on your trainers and go for a gentle run or cycle to start the day by burning some of the food from the day before.
Finally ensure you are getting good quality sleep. If you are using the Christmas period as a recovery phase then good quality sleep is an essential part of that. Aim to get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. To help with good quality sleep try to stop drinking alcohol 2 hours before you aim to go to sleep. That means setting yourself a target time to hit the sack. You really don’t need to stay up that extra hour to watch Only Fools and Horses for the 47th time! This is especially important on the 24th as you need to ensure your in bed before Father Christmas visits.
We will be sharing even more exercise Xmas advice through our social media channels over the Xmas period so make sure you give us a follow on Instagram @jdphealthfitness.