The bottles of Bailey’s lining the kitchen counter, the family-size box of Celebrations on the coffee table, the smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies, just out of the oven. Yep, Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it’s also the season of over-indulgence, excess and, let’s face it, gluttony. This means that it can be all too easy to fall off the fitness wagon. Eager to not lose focus on your fitness this festive period? Follow our tips and you should be onto a winner…
Be time smart
The festive period often means your social calendar gets filled up far more than usual. You’re spending time with family, attending Christmas parties, watching your kids’ faces as they rip open seemingly endless presents from Santa Clause. This means you have to be time smart when it comes to finding time to exercise. Don’t think you’ll have enough time for your usual 5 weekly workout sessions? Be realistic and switch things up. Perhaps you do two weights sessions and one cardio workout, such as HIIT or a treadmill hill sprint? Basically, choose workouts that are the most effective for you in less time.
Plan your workouts
This point ties in well with the first one. Planning your workouts for the week in advance gives you a realistic and attainable goal to aim for. Allowing time for training at carefully scheduled times means you don’t miss those important family moments, and you won’t feel guilty about allowing yourself that tasty wedge of Christmas pudding! To stay focused, it’s also a great tip to plan a workout either on the morning of, or the morning after a social gathering, such as a party. With your fitness as a focus in your mind, you’re far less likely to indulge too much.
Train at home
If you’re not already a home training convert, Christmas is the ideal time to embrace it. With time often not on your side (and winter weather also often a stumbling block!), it’s much easier to get a workout in if you don’t have to go anywhere. Why not try HIIT (high intensity interval training)? Using a range of functional fitness equipment, such as kettlebells, resistance bands and dumbbells, HIIT can burn more fat and calories than other forms of exercise. Even if you’re away from home for the festivities, packing some lightweight resistance bands is perfect. They help to make bodyweight exercises more intense, and you can perform a quick workout pretty much anywhere. Give these HIIT workouts a go!
Don’t succumb to the lure of leftovers
No-one’s blaming you for enjoying the indulgences of Christmas day. It’s one day and, a long as you’re sensible, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t allow yourself the treats that go with that. However, it’s important to be mindful that it is just one day. It’s easy to think you may as well continue through till New Year, steadily making your way through the After Eights and mulled wine whilst moving very little, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Are leftovers your worry? Divide leftover foods between family members, put unopened boxes of chocolates in a dark cupboard, ready to be re-gifted, or perhaps even donate food. If you can’t quite muster the strength to say no to all the leftovers, why not partner left over meat with healthy veggies, rather than carbs and enjoy something sweet with Greek yogurt rather than cream?
Savour your food
A good way to avoid eating too many calories over the festive period is to take your time. Rather than wolfing down the turkey with Mum’s home-made stuffing, slow yourself down, properly chew your food and, as a result, you’re far less likely to go for seconds as your brain will have time to catch up with your mouth and tell you that you are actually full. Plus, make sure the healthier foods, such as vegetables, are plentiful on your plate, so it’s not just the goose fat-drenched goodies going into your stomach!
Only buy what you need
It’s far easier to steer clear of the Christmas goodies if you don’t have temptation lingering everywhere you look. When we say only buy what you need, we don’t mean this in the strictest sense. Of course, you’ll want some tasty goodies thrown in when you do the Christmas shop, but there’s no need to stack that trolley as if you’re hosting a banquet like you’d see in Christmas movies. Be sensible with your purchases, and your bank balance will also thank you for it. As an incentive, you could even use the extra cash to help yourself with your 2018 goals. Some new trainers, fitness equipment, or perhaps even your entry fee to a 2018 fitness event, such as a 10K run, half-marathon or obstacle course.
Whether enjoying yourself this Christmas means allowing yourself to over-indulge and forget your fitness programme for one day (and we mean one day!), or staying 100% focused even on the big day, make sure you stick to your guns to ensure you have the best time possible. If you’re determined to stay on track with your hard-earned fitness levels, it’s so important that you are mindful and stick to our tips above. It will only mean a far harder slog in the new year if you don’t – and it won’t be a particularly fun or easy way to ring in 2018!