......and why there has never been a better time to eat vegetables!
Christmas is not going to be the time of year you make the most progress. It’s a time for family, celebrations and let’s be honest, a fair amount of over-indulgence.
And why not.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to be jetting off for some January sun or competing in the winter Olympics, you can probably afford to take a few days, (even weeks) off.
For those on a health, fitness or strength journey, Christmas can feel a little overwhelming. So how can we switch to ‘maintenance’ rather than completely reverse all your recent efforts!
It’s all about working out what’s the bare minimum you want to achieve.
Firstly, I’d assess your plans and set aside whatever time you need to just get stuck in. Switch off, have a proper break and do it guilt-free. The likelihood is you have enough on your plate (pun intended) without trying to fit in a workout on Christmas Day.
Once you’ve established your complete rest days I’d plan a couple of workouts immediately before and after this break. Your body needs time to recover so if you can, plan a particularly hard session the day before a few days off and your body can really utilise that break (and additional fuel) to recover and get stronger.
The same with your first workout back. You’ll likely to be rested and well fuelled so (hangover dependent) planning to get a good workout in on your first day back means you can really benefit from that rest period and all those additional calories.
The rest of the time, tailor your workouts accordingly to fit into your holiday period - this may mean splitting it into shorter workouts, reducing the number of sessions or doing something completely different that fits better with your family plans for a couple of weeks.
You’re more likely to start something if it seems feasible (or enjoyable) in the first place. Ten minutes a day for six days is still an hour of working out.
Make it work for you.
Once you’ve had your ‘rest’ I would try to get back to prioritising being generally active as soon as you can by getting out for some walks and moving your body again. This will make a huge difference when it comes to your mental and physical health benefits, not to mention the extra calories you are consuming.
Let’s be honest Christmas is not the time for diets so I would follow some similar principles to your training. Give yourself a few days complete break from any tracking, prepping and portion control.
You only live once.
Then, instead of taking away, try to focus on adding healthy things to your day.
A brussel sprout fried with butter and bacon is still a brussel sprout. A honey roast parsnip is still a parsnip.
Tangerines, grapes & figs, dates…
In fact…..fruit and vegetables have never tasted so good! In theory it is actually quite easy to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables over the Christmas period.
The other priority, always, is to stay hydrated despite the copious amounts of wine, port, sherry and champagne. You will feel so much better throughout!
Your mental health is just as important at Christmas time as the rest of the year.
Whilst Christmas is generally a joyful time, it can also feel a little intense and overwhelming.
Zero time to yourself, family dynamics, travel chaos, the pressure to be having the BEST time and excess alcohol, can all play their part in making this an interesting time of year!
People are still going to trigger you, your toddler is still going to have a tantrum and things are not always going to go perfectly.
When we’re out of routine we often forget the daily rituals that make us feel good each day. That morning playlist, the daily gratitude, a quick meditation, an uninterrupted morning coffee. Often these things only take a few minutes but make a huge difference to how we feel in our lives.
So be kind to yourself, prioritise your mental well-being and give yourself time to get mentally prepared to show up as your best self.
You've got this.