How to avoid gaining a Christmas Belly and Bum
Ok so its Christmas time. The weather is unusually warm for this time of year and everyone is in flying form, looking forward to the upcoming festivities. The bars and nice food joints seem a much more appealing option when we’re debating about going to the gym in the evening after work, right?
The invites keep popping up on our phones and each one is from a friend or loved one who you simply can’t ignore. But what can you do when you want to be able to enjoy the social occasions but also want to stay on track with your gym and health goals?
Even though its Christmas and we’re all in a sociable, festive mood, we must still be mindful of accruing an extra kilo or two over this period. There is always a tendency to over eat and put away one too many alcoholic beverages than we might otherwise be prone to repel. As I alluded to earlier, we’re also way more likely to skip the gym and skip workouts when we’re snowed under with work deadlines, being pulled each and every direction with obligations to meet up with friends and family or indeed elbowing our way through the masses in the shopping districts, buying presents for said loved ones.
There is also the thinking that at this time of year ‘Well, listen, at this stage, I may as well just leave it till the new year’.
So why am I raining on your parade with this email? Am I just being a major buzz kill? Well, (hopefully), no! I just wanted to send out a gentle reminder to employ some “damage limitation” strategies so that when January comes around, you’re not coming to me on your knees looking for me to suit up for Mission Impossible.
Of course, a kilo or two over your usual weight is to be expected and I’m the first to enourage you to enjoy yourself over the Christmas, don’t get me wrong. However, if you end up putting on an excessive amount of weight over the festive period because you’ve really overindulged and havent made any attempt at training/exercise or even just general activity, you will certainly lose some of that hard-earned muscle mass (that probably took since last January to build) and your metabolism will inevitably slow down as a result. Sadly for you, this means you wont be burning fat while you work, while you sleep, while you’re just sitting on the sofa chilling watching Home Alone 2 (definitely the best one!). It also means, that when you do try to get back to a decent fitness and weight level in the new year, you’ll have to invest significantly more time, effort and money (personal training doesn’t come cheap) in just getting back to baseline levels, never mind improving on the gains you may have made all last year. There’s no worse feeling than getting back to the gym in the new year feeling weak, sluggish and looking in the same mirror that usually reflected a fresh, healthy, athletic shape but now looks like a soft squishy doughnut! Trust me, I’ve been there…and it’s not worth it!
So whats the best thing to do over this period that will allow us to have fun, be sociable, but not leave us dragging our feet and soft squishy body to the gym in the new year?!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present my damage limitation strategies for Christmas:
1 Pick your events:
We of course, cant and shouldn’t stay in over the Christmas, and we should also, like everyone else, indulge a little. There is nothing wrong with having some bad food and drink, provided its not EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. There are going to be lots of dinners and drinks gatherings that you are going to be invited to, so the best thing to do is to choose wisely. Pick the gatherings at which you are going to indulge completely and really let your hair down. By the same token, also make a good point at selecting the occasions at which you will reign it in at. Your liver will thank you as much as your head and body in the new year.
2 Fill up on the good food, rather than the bad:
No matter what restaurant or bar that you go to, there is going to be meat and veg on the menu. Whether it be pork, eggs, steak, fish, salad or roast veg, there will be one of these if not more on every menu. No one is saying to avoid some tasty treats at Christmas, but try and fill up on the good food, such as meat, fish and veg first, and then have some potatoes, chips, stuffing or whatever the treat for that meal is. It just means that you’re going to eat far less of the bad food and more of the good food, which will keep you fuller for longer and have you putting on less fat over Christmas.
3 Change up your workout:
I would opt for more metabolic type workouts. These will increase the amount of fat that you burn when your NOT in the gym but while you’re sleeping, out with friends or just generally taking it easy with the family in the evening. Workouts like metabolic conditioning, HIIT, full body workouts and sprints are great for this. These forms of exercise will have you burning fat for 24-48 hours after you do them, depending on how hard you push yourself. They also have an apetite suppressing effect, meaning you will not want to eat as much as normal after you do them.
4 Keep up your training:
Avoid the ‘Ah it can wait until January’ attitude, and think about DAMAGE LIMITATION. By working out, you will at the very least be keeping up your cardiovascular fitness levels, maintaining muscle (in fact you may even gain muscle due to the increase in calories and protein…otherwise known as Christmas GAINZ) and subconsciously thinking a little bit more about what you are eating and drinking. When you do decide to really tighten up on the diet and loose some weight in the new year, this will be a lot easier since your metabolism will have stayed very efficient given you’ve at least maintained some training sessions over Christams.
Chrsitmas is a time to spend with family and friends, but don’t just make it about food and alcohol. Of course, its OK to indulge a little but please do be mindful of the amount of meals and alcohol fueled nights you’re having and I implore you to at least keep up your workouts.
Most of all, have a healthy and happy Christmas and new years and I look forward to seeing you all back in January!
If you would like to know more about ‘Metabolic, hiit, full body or met Con’ workouts as mentioned before, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Vinny Gough 2006 - 2017
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