Everybody knows that Christmas time involves a lot of eating and a lot of drinking. My record of weight gain is a stone and a half, which was achieved from 2 weeks of no exercise, about 10 days of drowning in alcohol and eating everything in sight.
It’s hard to keep to a strict fitness regime over the Christmas period, and my advice would be DON’T DO IT!! Christmas is about giving, laughing, and spending time with loved ones. You don’t want to have to stress about getting in your fifth workout of the week and tracking each chocolate in MyFitnessPal. Even professional athletes take time off over Christmas, and you can too.
If you’re looking for some tips on how to keep the Christmas podge away, I’ve come up with a couple of guidelines to follow…
Accept that you’ll put on weight!
It’s almost impossible to not put on a bit of weight at Christmas. Why stress about your macros when you haven’t seen some of your family all year. Just accept that you might add around 5% onto your bodyweight, indulge when you need to, and get back training after Boxing Day.
Take time off the gym!
Yes that’s right, I said it. Take time off the gym. A 1 hour workout at the gym with your pre-workout ritual, travel both ways, shower, post workout meal etc could take 2 hours out of your precious evening or weekend. Try a few home workouts just to speed things up. Instead of your regular Chest and Tricep workout, challenge yourself to a few hundred push ups at home. It’s not the end of the world if you miss the bench press for one workout!
Take time off the gym! – Part 2
Another way to stay out of the gym would be to schedule your rest week around Christmas. If you are training properly you should have a scheduled rest week every 2-3 months. If you kill yourself in the gym, and I mean really kill yourself from November 1st to December 23rd, take a few days off, you’ve earnt it! Your body will actually progress more from the time off.
Obviously having a NO ALCOHOL rule would be the best thing to follow if you really care about your health but hey, we’re all human. The best drinks to have if you want to keep your calorie intake low is to have neat spirits. But unless you want your nan or niece thinking you hate your life that might not be the most acceptable way to keep your calories low. The next best low-calorie drink is Prosecco at only 80 calories a glass, and who doesn’t love a glass of prosecco at Christmas?
Re-gift your chocolates
How many shitty £7 boxes of chocolate do you get, either in secret Santa’s or from that distant relative you forgot about. Instead of immediately indulging, why not use that gift elsewhere? Pretend that you actually thought of someone else by buying them a present whereas in reality you are saving yourself from eating a box of terrible chocolates whilst looking like a thoughtful person, great success!
Intermittent fasting is a great way to cut out calories (If you don’t know what Intermittent Fasting is, I’ve written a blog about it HERE). You can expect to indulge on a couple of thousand calories extra at a work party, family reunion, or any occasion around Christmas. If you choose to fast for the next 14-16 hours you cut out the calories from the drunk snack, breakfast, brunch, that mid-morning nibble and lunch. I’m not saying fasting is a cure for binges, it is however an easy way of counterbalancing extra calories you had the night before.
Get Back to Training!
The days that are acceptable to have off training are 24th, 25th, 26th, 30th December and the 1st January. Other than that, you should stick to your training regime. You might miss one workout here or there, but you shouldn’t be having three weeks off exercise, unless you want a real mountain to climb in January!
At the end of the day, you’re probably going to put on a little bit of weight. The quicker you get over that and can enjoy yourself, the quicker you can get back into a fitness regime in January.
And if anybody needs help getting back on it in January, you know who to call!