It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But it’s also one of the hardest times to stay fit and healthy. A busier social life, indulgent foods, parties, parties, parties, and less active time, in general, can put a pause, or even a decline, in your fitness goals.
There are no rules to anything you do over the holidays — if you feel like it, simply go ahead and enjoy the festivities. Eat, drink, and be merry — there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re serious about finding tips to stay fit over Christmas, we have a few practical solutions.
If you can keep going to the gym to stay fit over Christmas, do it — even if your sessions are shorter or less intense than usual. Staying consistent with fitness is the best way for you to maintain your muscle structure and get closer to your goals. If you can’t make it to the gym, simply walking more, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or squeezing a quick 10-minute morning workout into your daily routine can make all the difference.
Time with friends and family doesn’t have to be limited to indoors. The festive break gives you more time to enjoy physical activities with loved ones such as swimming or hiking, or sporting games, whether that’s chilled golf or sweat-inducing football. Even a snowball fight in the garden can burn calories! And since sport can help reduce stress, it’s the perfect way to offset any Christmas shopping headaches, while keeping your fitness levels high.
The importance of hydration in fitness cannot be underestimated. But even when you’re not hitting the gym hard, drinking plenty of water helps manage your weight, stay more resilient, lubricate joints and rejuvenate muscles. If you’re worried about overindulging in the Christmas pudding, drink a large glass of water before a meal. Studies show that doing so helped participants in controlled conditions feel less hungry. Meanwhile, moderate your alcoholic drinking. It’s certainly not our aim to stop you from enjoying a mulled wine, but be careful to limit how far you take it, as alcohol only adds more calories to the ones you’ve already eaten.
Enjoying food at Christmas time is important. It’s so rewarding to treat ourselves to foods we may not necessarily eat all year round (looking at you, mince pies). But, as with everything, moderation is key if you’re serious about staying on track with your fitness goals. Overindulging can lead to weight gain – especially if physical activity is reduced over the holidays. Try to stick to your normal diet as much as possible. For example, don’t skip breakfast just to make up for calories you plan to consume later — this will only lead to counterproductive results.
Stress hormones alone can lead to weight gain, so don’t be too hard on yourself over the festive season. If you spend a lot of time training, the most beneficial part of taking some downtime from working out is that your body can recover properly. After all, it’s the recovery process that gets your body working, repairing, restoring, and strengthening. By taking some rest over Christmas, you’ll feel more prepared to test yourself once you’re back in the gym.
It’s been a tough year and you’ve earned a rest, without feeling guilty about it. And if you’d like to put a plan in place to stay fit over Christmas, our personal trainers would be more than happy to help.