Regardless of how prepared we try to be, the christmas holidays always seem to leave us feeling over-fed and over-tired. With christmas parties seeming to creep in earlier each year with cocktails, canapés & mince pies are thrown at us on a daily basis. It really is no wonder we get to the end of the month feeling like a shadow of our former fit self.
Because of this I wanted to put together a little holiday guide sharing my tips and tricks on how to stay relatively sane throughout the party season, hitting January feeling good. After all, when you work so hard during the year why throw it all away in just one month, right? Here are my go to tips for how to keep your nutrition and fitness in check over christmas:
1. Get strict with your schedule
Once the party season hits, exercise tends to get thrown out the window almost as quickly as nutrition does. Just because you’re indulging doesn’t mean you need to skip the workout. You can have fun AND still fit in your favourite class. Schedule in a realistic amount of sessions per week and stick to it.
2. No workout is too short
In an ideal world, we would be able to spend over an hour getting in the perfect workout. However, this is only sometimes possible at the best of times, let alone in party season! If you think that the only workout worth having is 45+ minutes, then you’re only setting yourself up for disapointment. If you’re pressed for time set yourself up a home HIIT circuit. The important thing is to just move! It helps your metabolism, lymphatic system and circulation to get fired up. If you’re stuck at home and can only do one move this Christmas….. Do a Burpee. They hit your upper body, lower body and cardiovascular system. They tackle your balance and coordination. And if you add the jump at the top of the move, it’ll hit your lymphatic system as well. You can do them fast, slow, with weights, without, inside, outside…shall I go on?
3. Never skip Mondays
Make Mondays sacred. I always make sure I get a workout in on monday as I feel it sets me up for the week. Even if you’re coerced into going out, keep it clean. Avoid alcohol, eat healthy food and get to bed early. The holidays can’t be a free for all, even with all of the supplements in the world, your body will need some TLC. Make a green soup, drink lots of water and go to the gym or your favourite class.
4. Don’t throw away your day
We’ve all done it… after the tiniest treat that passes our lips and all of a sudden that one piece of chocolate turns into a whole day of binging. We can’t be perfect during the holidays, even if you do all of the groundwork and set yourself some solid rules, you’re still human. If you slip up or eat something you think you shouldn’t have, just LET IT GO! Don’t get into the habit of ‘I’ve already ruined my day so I may as well have 10 more…’
5. Make it social
Guess what, if you’re feeling sluggish and pressured to keep up with the social calendar, the likelihood is your friends are feeling the same way. When you’re making plans with friends, suggest getting in a pre-sweat in, whether it’s your favourite HIIT class, a trip to the gym or your local yoga studio, getting in a session will leave everyone in a better mood.
6. Get Prepping
One of the best things you can do is a little prep so that you’re not caught out. On the weekend make a few healthy meals and snacks. Then you’ll always have an options for breakfast, lunch or dinner that’s home made, healthy and ready to go.
7. Never skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast is a big no no, however, waking up after 4 hours sleep and a few too many cocktails the last thing you’ll fancy doing is cooking a healthy breakfast before heading into the office. After these late nights you’ll need something easy and balanced. Make sure you get some protein, fibre and greens. Skipping breakfast will only have a negative impact on your metabolism for the whole day. Things like overnight oats or boiled eggs can even be prepared the night before to give you a few extra minutes under the duvet!
8. Go green before noon
Canapés and Christmas meals aren’t exactly known for their vegetable content, so it’s easy to get through a week eating potatoes and thinking we’ve hit our green quota. If you aim to get three servings of veggies in by the time you’re finished lunch and you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour by keeping up your vitamin, mineral and fibre content. If you find this hard grab yourself a wheatgrass shot or a cold pressed juice.
9. The 80/20 rule
This is something I recommend everyone does. Since the holidays can go on for up to 6 weeks, it’s important to set yourself a few ground rules. I pretty much religiously stick to this all year round and I find it really works. Eat clean healthy foods 80% of the time and then allow yourself to satisfy any cravings that may be less healthy 20% of the time. This will leave you feeling less gulity after having that slice of your favourite cake as you know you’ve eaten well for the majority of the week.
10. Clean up your alcohol
Healthy alcohol is a bit of an oxymoron, but there is definitely a hierarchy when it comes to its affect on your health. Sugary cocktails will be the worst – the combination is a metabolic bomb, especially if you’re drinking them consistently. Try to be mindful of not only how much but what kind of alcohol you’re drinking throughout party season. If you’re ever in doubt try and stick to clear spirits with a low sugar mixer. My go-to drink is vodka, soda and fresh lime.
11. Drink lots of water
Theres countless reasons why you should aim to drink at least 2L of water everyday. However after a big night out you’ll be dehydrated and needing it even more. After your christmas party make sure you have a big class of water by your bed ready to drink as soon as you get home, trust me it will help your head in the morning.
As soon as christmas day hits forget all of the above. Eat as much as you like, drink as much as you like. Christmas is only one day of the year and you want to enjoy the day with love ones carefree, and if you’ve followed the above, gulit free!