Office parties, after work drinks and multiple Christmas dinners – ’tis truly the season for indulgence. As a result, it can be hard to prioritise staying active, especially when you’re juggling a busy social calendar with shopping, baking and attending festive get-togethers.
Combine this with the excessive consumption of mince pies and mulled wine and you may notice your exercise routine dropping, but it’s still possible to enjoy Christmas while staying active with the help of the experts.
Steven Virtue, fitness content and programming manager at Total Fitness shares his five top tips to keep fit and energised over the festive period:
Set realistic goals
This is the number one thing to bear in mind when it comes to your fitness regime over Christmas. Everyone deserves a rest and the Christmas break is a great time to take some well-earned downtime. Keep sight of your fitness goals but don’t be too hard on yourself – set yourself realistic goals with plenty of time for rest and enjoying the company of family and friends. Instead of pledging to hit the gym every single day, try and maintain a low but sustainable level of exercise. This could be getting out for a short walk every other morning, doing half an hour of yoga at the weekend, or doing a quick 10-minute blast of HIIT to keep your body in the habit of exercising.
Drink lots of water
What would party season be without a festive tipple or two? Don’t deny yourself the glass of bubbly – or the deluxe hot chocolate – but do remember to keep up your water intake. Drinking plenty of water not only suppresses appetite; it also boosts your metabolism, helping you to digest the festive treats faster and more efficiently.
Optimise your workout
If you’re particularly short on time over the Christmas season, plan a more intensive workout to get the most of your workout window. Try VIIT (Variable Intensity Interval Training) to target all the muscles in your body, as well as the various energy systems; this will improve strength and endurance, while burning more calories. Whatever your preferred exercise is, there are ways to increase your gains in a shorter workout time. For example, when practising yoga, intersperse your poses with quick blasts of cardio, or practice poses whilst holding weights for extra burn. If you prefer strength-training, try increasing your weights – this will induce muscle fatigue faster, shortening your workout time.
Don’t overdo it
While a good fitness regime will help you stay on track during the festive season, the best way to stay in shape is to combine regular exercise with a balanced diet. The festive season would be nothing without a few delicious indulgences, but be sure to also incorporate plenty of vitamins and nutrients into your festive meals. Load up on leafy greens like Brussels sprouts, cabbage and other winter veg; the nutrients will give you a healthy festive glow and help replenish energy levels, so you can keep going throughout party season.
Workout with a friend
Combine your workouts with socialising by ‘buddying up’ with a friend and commit to working out together over the holiday. Exercising with a friend is great way to ensure you see your fitness goals through, as you can hold each other accountable for showing up to classes or meeting for that morning walk. It’s also a great excuse to get some more socialising booked in and have a catch up.